<< -- 2 -- Bill Newman BERLIN FESTIVAL DIARY
Norway's Vertavo Quartet were quarter-way through Sibelius opus 4. I
was way up high, quickly realising that I could descend the winding stairs
to my seat. Highly motivated, precise sounds and idyllic legato phrasing
calmed my frustrations. This was early Sibelius in a superb acoustic setting,
far more highlighted than on disc, projected with marvellous verve and aplomb.
The acknowledged quartet masterpiece Voces intimae that followed
brought added assurance to my impressions.
Remembering a much earlier introduction to this deeply-felt work by the
celebrated Griller Quartet, here were four young ladies prepared to slow
the opening measures to allow hushed harmonies to build into an outburst
of glowing sonorities. Electrifying! The music took on an orchestral guise,
each player merging with partners or interjecting new ideas with total control
and commitment in an unbroken time span that brought delight to the ears.
The music of Allan Pettersson brings sterner demands. The composer's
years of illness urged his discovery of life's truth and meaning, all too
clearly evident in his symphonic writing. His chamber music -- Vier Improvisationen
für Streichtrio / Sonata Nr 7 für zwei Violinen / Konzert für
Violine und Streichquartett -- also contains similar clues to the effort
required of a sick composer. Ulf Hoelscher's non-vibrato key-playing provided
a catalyst to colleagues with sounds hard to decipher at just one hearing.
Performances were of a high standard, which bade well for the Festival as
Copyright © 5 December 2000
Bill Newman, Edgware, UK
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