Endellion String Quartet Beethoven cycle at New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art
Strad review following the Endellion String Quartet's six concerts in February 2013 of all the Beethoven String Quartets in The Grace Rainey Rogers Auditorium at New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art.
The Strad, May 2013
Leah Swann Hollingsworth
Concert: 22 February 2013, Metropolitan Museum
"In this instalment of the Endellion Quartet’s New York complete Beethoven cycle, the players demonstrated a thoughtful approach to the music that was always interesting and never predictable or trite. The Quartet op. 18 no. 5 demonstrated energy and restraint. Its variation movement was a true delight – humorous, conversational, and both appropriately boisterous and quietly delicate.
"Beethoven’s final quartet, op. 135, was performed in the middle of the programme after an elegant spoken introduction by first violinist Andrew Watkinson from the stage. The trust and risk-taking that come from years of playing together were evident in the Endellion’s performance. The Allegretto had just the right balance of optimism and dark humour and the Vivace was filled with energy, discipline and fun. The virtuosic first violin had flair and prevision without feeling laboured. The quartet’s Lento assai was serious, but also highly tender and personal, and the inner voices’ supporting lines were emotive and generous. The haunting start to the final movement was anguished and convincing.
"The second ‘Rasumovsky’ Quartet op. 59 closed the concert, opening with a tempo that was brisk but not rushed. The second movement was not overly serious, although the climax was perhaps a tad overwrought. The Allegretto was light-hearted and quirky and the final Presto equally delightful – rambunctious, playful, unfussy and not overdone. Few ensembles are brave enough to present a concert cycle of Beethoven’s 16 string quartets, but this performance from the Endellion’s cycle indicated that it has met the challenge."