“Superlative!” was just one of many ways the audience summed up the performance of the multiple award-winning Dante Quartet for Clitheroe Concert Society.
The Dante are recognised as one of the best string quartets around, in live performance and on CDs. Many argue they are within the top few on a world basis. Additionally, this concert was recognised by the Britten-Pears Trust and listed on their official list of concerts to celebrate the centenary of Benjamin Britten’s birth, less than a week previously.
The programme started with Mozart’s “The Bird” quartet, described by the quartet’s leader Krysia Osostowicz as one of the happiest in the repertoire. The second piece, Schubert’s A minor “Rosamunde” quartet, was a contrast, Schubert having just realised that he was suffering from a fatal illness and expressing his anguish in the first movement. The second movement is more contemplative and the third uses one of his songs, but there is a feeling of desolation as if he now accepts his situation. The final movement, however, shows his spirits rising and is cheerful, rather like a peasant dance.
The second half of the concert was devoted to Benjamin Britten’s Quartet No. 1, dating from 1941 and described by Krysia as rarely played. It’s difficult to understand why this should be. Although unmistakably written in the mid-20th century, it is approachable and enjoyable.
The audience of around 85 gave the quartet enthusiastic applause, bringing them back again and again.
The Society’s next concert will be on Wednesday February 5th with the Kimwilton clarinet trio. For more details visit the society’s website (www.clitheroeconcerts.org). Tickets are £14 in advance or on the door and full-time students and accompanied children are admitted free.