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West Berks village enjoys evening of exceptional string quartet playing by Adderbury Ensemble

The Adderbury Ensemble at St Mary’s Church, Aldworth on Saturday, June 29


Adderbury summer concert
Adderbury summer concert

Those fortunate enough to be there were treated to an evening of fine string quartet playing by members of the Adderbury Ensemble on Saturday, making a welcome return visit to beautiful St Mary’s Church, Aldworth.

They started with Haydn’s String Quartet later nicknamed The Bird on account of a chirping, bird-like figure in its first movement, the Quartet in C, Opus 33, no. 3, taken from Haydn’s second mature set of quartets. There is plenty of Haydn’s characteristic humour and high spirits in the opening and final movements, but the real gem is the slow movement with its beautiful main melody, so expressive. All this was well brought out by the Adderburies.

The Haydn was followed by a most enjoyable novelty – three arrangements of traditional Scandinavian folk songs only recently made by the Danish String Quartet, who have actively encouraged other string quartets to include them in their concerts. The arrangements are ingenious and effective while retaining their folk character, and were much enjoyed by players and audience alike.

After the interval came the highlight of the evening, Beethoven’s Quartet in C, Opus 59 no. 3, the third of his Razumovsky Quartets so called on account of their having being commissioned by a Russian Count of that name who was in Vienna at that time (1806).

In introducing this quartet, violinist Chris Windass referred, as so many others have done, to Beethoven as the greatest composer of string quartets of all and the Adderburies certainly upped their intensity and expressive range in their fine performance of Beethoven’s masterpiece. The power and tension Beethoven could create from just four string players, not to mention the breadth of emotion, is quite extraordinary, and in doing so he makes huge demands on his players. The Adderburies rose magnificently to the challenge.

This was an evening of exceptional string quartet playing – technical mastery and fine musicianship from all four players brought together in immaculate ensemble.

As an encore they played Elgar’s lovely, gentle Chanson de Matin. Future visits are eagerly awaited.

The evening was raising funds towards the church.

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