Fringe Box



Review: GIMF – The Brodsky Quartet – Holy Trinity Church

Published on: 10 Mar, 2013
Updated on: 11 Mar, 2013
Brodsky wheel-of-4tunes

Brodsky wheel of 4tunes

Guildford International Music Festival (GIMF): The Brodsky Quartet (Violinists Daniel Rowland and Ian Belton, violist Paul Cassidy and cellist Jacqueline Thomas) at Holy Trinity Church

Saturday 9 March 2013

by The Stage Dragon

Spinning a Wheel of 4Tunes is not the usual way to choose items for a concert – but why not? Carefully selecting from a collection of 40 of their favourite works, the Brodsky Quartet is triumphantly celebrating 40 years as a quartet, and as well as providing an interesting talking point, the spinning wheel produced a highly successful programme for last night’s concert.

Opening with the delightful “La Oración del Torero” (The Bullfighter’s Prayer) by Joaquin Turina, the quartet displayed a wonderful ability to paint pictures in sound, portraying the Spanish torero in pensive mood before the thrills and tension of the bullfight.

Next up was Beethoven’s Quartet No.11, opus 95 “Serioso”, a rich and passionate piece from his ‘middle’ period, concise, moody and sometimes violent.  The Brodsky Quartet performed this with consummate ease, demonstrating exactly why they’re continually in worldwide demand – an inspired asset to the Guildford International Music Festival.

The Brodsky Quartet

The Brodsky Quartet

The dynamic is astounding – like one animal with four legs – and their presentation friendly and engaging.  Holy Trinity Church provided a magnificent backdrop and acoustic and the players took full advantage to demonstrate gritty fortissimos to fill the space and their amazing collective ability to create the sort of pianissimo that makes the air stand still.

Over those 40 years, the quartet has amassed a wealth of original compositions in their repertoire.  To start the second half, the wheel turned up Theo Verbey’s Spring Rain. An atmospheric gem encapsulating the weather, Verbey’s work was one of those composed especially for the Brodsky Quartet. There was no doubt about the imagery of this piece and it went down a storm . There were raindrops, sometimes light, sometimes heavy, blended with a broad and sonorous violin tune.

Ravel’s only String Quartet completed the concert – a complex impressionist work influenced by jazz, folk and America.  This was a top quality performance and tremendously exciting playing.  Responding to criticism in Paris when the work was first produced in 1903, Debussy reassured Ravel by saying that it was ‘perfection’ and that he should not change a single note.

Having spent a glorious evening in the company of the Brodsky Quartet, I can honestly say that I feel the same about them – don’t change a single note.  It was perfection, and I would happily sit through all 10,000 permutations of their Wheel of 4Tunes.

Guildford International Music Festival continues until 24 March – download a brochure here:

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