It takes a lot of organising to plan a lunchtime recital series with almost twenty weekly events – to say nothing of needing to be on hand each time, just in case something goes wrong.
So when St Andrew’s Director of Music Jonathan Hurdle swapped planner for violin, to lead the Minster String Quartet, it represented a considerable commitment both on the day, and in prior rehearsal time. Add to this the fact that the quartet was only formed earlier this year, and then initially to take part in a special one-off event, the few glitches along the way were only to be expected, and the good-sized audience still went away happy.
Joined by Martin Kent (violin), Hilary Lade (viola) and Jane Spence (cello), the players gave a disciplined performance of two movements from Haydn’s Lark Quartet, and an expressive rendering of Elgar’s Salut d’Amour. The slow movement from Bach’s Concerto for Two Violins in D minor received a well-balanced reading, with all four strings blending well together.
A complete performance of Vivaldi’s A minor Concerto for Two Violins was arguably the most successful offering, with the playing sounding quite stylish at times.
The opening gambit – Oh, I Do Like to be Beside the Seaside – didn’t really take off, despite the addition of straw boaters – but then this was probably more down to the arrangement, than to the performance itself.
PHILIP R BUTTALL