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<<  -- 4 --  Malcolm Miller    FLAIR AND MOMENTUM

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K575 also received an exhilarating and unusual account, with the florid cello solos tastefully restrained and delicately subdued and woven in with the ensemble. The quartet was the first of the three composed for Frederick Wilhelm II, the Prussian monarch and amateur cellist, and usually the flowery duets for leader and cello are highlighted, yet here the cello often remained in the background as if to highlight the ensemble.

The suave lyrical first theme soared delightfully in violin and viola whilst the cello's rising second theme was answered gracefully by the second violin before its motivic cells permeated the entire volatile texture. The gentle Andante unfolded with caressing warmth contrasted by the brisling buoyancy of the Menuetto.

The Skampa Quartet. Photo © Ivan Pinkava
The Skampa Quartet. Photo © Ivan Pinkava

Overall the Skampa was fully alive to the conversational interactions so apt to a work composed in 1789, and which appears to idealize revolutionary egalitarianism in its handling of the medium, with a wealth of varying groupings amongst the instruments. The familiar themes were warmly projected and shaped, with so many details of emphasis and nuance, and with its sparkling élan, the tuneful finale had one whistling whilst wending one's way home.

Copyright © 26 January 2006 Malcolm Miller, London UK

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The reviewed performance of the Skampa Quartet's 19 January 2006 LSO St Luke's Mozart birthday concert is due for broadcast today, 26 January 2006, at 1pm (GMT), while the quartet's concert which takes place tomorrow, 27 January 2006, 1pm (GMT) at the same venue, featuring K465 and K589 will be broadcast and webcast live, both on BBC Radio 3.

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