Sparkling opening to diamond season

The Piatti Quartet, who opened Clitheroe Concerts Society's 60th season
The Piatti Quartet, who opened Clitheroe Concerts Society's 60th season
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Clitheroe Concerts Society’s Diamond Jubilee 60th season started with the astonishing Piatti String Quartet.

This young group are destined for the top, having already received rave reviews in the broadsheets, and it’s easy to see the reason for their excitement.

The evening started well with the venue at Clitheroe Royal Grammar School’s Sixth Form Centre repainted, refurbished and the spotlights working. This is a perfect room for chamber music, with the tiered seating allowing an excellent view for everybody.

The audience of 80, with 10 new members of the society, sensed they were to hear something special. The first work was Haydn’s String Quartet Op 76 No. 3: “The Emperor”, the work of the man who originally developed string quartet music. It includes a well known tune, which became the Austrian and later the German national anthems, and was simply beautifully played.

In contrast, Béla Bartok’s String quartet No 3 followed, written over 100 years later in 1926. Bartok started composing when he was only nine, but at 23 heard genuine Hungarian folksong for the first time and started his life’s mission to collect folk music from many parts of Europe and America.

Quartet No 3 was composed in Budapest in 1926. It has four movements, but with no breaks. Many people find the opening austere, but then the mood softens with lively folk-influenced melodies. Charlotte Scott, the first violin of the Piatti quartet commented afterwards that this piece is the favourite of many musicians.

After the interval, Smetana’s first string quartet completed the programme. It is partially autobiographical and violist David Wigram introduced the music and things to look out for. Smetana is well known for his operas and the quartet was written after his retirement from the theatre from ill health.

Interestingly, the violinist in its first performance was the composer Antonin Dvorak. It is a generally a romantic, lively piece of music, but the last minutes becomes more sombre, reflecting on his poor health and hearing difficulties. However at the very last there is an indication of his hopes for a better future.

A superb choice of programme, beautifully played, deserving the prolonged applause. The quartet met the audience afterwards which included Sophie, a very young violinist who had come with her father from Chorley especially for the concert.

Next month, on November 2nd, the society welcomes the Erato Piano Trio. Tickets can be purchased from Clitheroe Music (in Moor Lane), the Tourist Information Office (in Church Walk) or through the Society’s website: www.clitheroeconcerts.org

The website also contains detailed information about the concert, the society and how to join and receive a substantial discount on the cost of individual tickets. Alternatively, just phone 01200 423474.