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Excellent ensemble and natural musicianship … a performance of high quality

Solem Quartet

Carlisle Music Society, John Upson

The highly accomplished Solem String Quartet gave an impressive recital for Carlisle Music Society of three iconic works from the quartet repertoire.

Haydn’s ‘Lark’ Quartet opened the proceedings with finely judged balance between the four young players, excellent ensemble and natural musicianship. The expressive Adagio and rustic Menuetto brought both tonal elegance and humour; the moto perpetuo Finale raced by at a brisk tempo, with high spirits well controlled.

Second Violinist William Newell introduced Bartok’s Quartet no. 5 pointing to Bartok’s obsession with Eastern European folk music. Its earthy energy and desolate poignancy characterise much of this piece and the Solem Quartet rose to the occasion with a performance of confidence and insight into this unsettling music.

The fast outer movements were exhilarating, the players enjoyed the quirky rhythms of the central Scherzo Alla bulgarese and the two slow movements brought moments of stillness and reflection – a performance of high quality.

Beethoven’s Quartet in E flat op. 127 made the most satisfying conclusion to the concert – well-paced and sonorous. After two hundred years this music is at last widely appreciated – in no small measure due to the performances by young quartets such as the Solem Quartet.

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