TITLE: The Carducci String Quartet at Huddersfield Music Society

VENUE: St Paul’s Hall, Huddersfield


WITH such rhythmic verve did this young ensemble reach the climax of Schubert’s Death and the Maiden Quartet that the packed hall reacted with a spontaneous cheer of a sort not common at chamber music concerts.

The Carduccis certainly made a powerful impression, not just for their virtuosity but for the dramatic intensity they brought to the entire programme.

This was scarcely a surprise in the case of the second item, Shostakovich’s Quartet No 8, written while the composer was harbouring suicidal thoughts. The work is not without a kind of demonic wit, however, and this was a feature of Monday night’s performance, especially in a sardonic waltz passage.

But if intense drama is to be expected in performances of Schubert and Shostakovich, it is somewhat less usual with Haydn quartets. Yet the concert opener, his Quartet in D, Op 20 No 4, was something of a revelation.

The tempos and the interpretation might have been slightly controversial, but it was certainly refreshing to hear Haydn played with enigma and mystery, as the Carducci Quartet did with the second movement; and the bizarre rhythms of the minuet were fully exploited.Š

The quartet left Huddersfield having earned a lot of admirers among the large and knowledgeable audience.