Perhaps it’s the bracing moorland air, but Tavistock just seems to attract one festival after another, even when the Dantes’ biennial event officially centres on the Tamar Valley.
But the quartet never misses an opportunity to play in the fine acoustic of the stannary town’s delightful Parish Church, so choosing it as the venue to close this year’s Dante Festival wasn’t a difficult decision to make.
Wisely the Dantes opted to swap the first two items on the programme, since Erwin Schulhoff’s exhilarating Duo for violin and cello, with Oscar Perks and Richard Jenkinson virtually entangled in a musical duel of pure technique and melodic invention, proved a far more effective opening than the two sugary-sweet song transcriptions from Dvorak’s Cypresses would have.
However, Janacek’s Second Quartet, entitled ‘Intimate Letters’ couldn’t then have provided more by way of contrast, with the players, led with consummate assurance by Krysia Osostowicz, crafting a superb reading of this challenging work, with its constantly-changing emotions in each of its four movements.
Krysia’s eighteen-year-old daughter, Alinka, joined the players for Dvorak’s E flat String Quartet, where, simply from her opening four-bar solo, she showed she already has some of the necessary credentials to emulate her mother’s musical achievements, while shortly continuing her studies at the Royal Academy of Music.
All in all, then, another great finale to an eminently successful concert – and Dante Festival.
PHILIP R BUTTALL