Get with the programme.
| Aurea String Quartet played with power and intensity after switching the programme REVIEW Production: Aurea String Quartet Venue: St. Paul's Hall, Huddersfield Review: Chris Robins ...
THE Aurea String Quartet's name means golden in Latin and in the five years since their formation their progress has been just that.
Among honours already won is the 2014 St-Martin-in-the-Fields Chamber Music Prize which has led to concert engagements.
This was the last concert of Huddersfield Music Society's 2015-16 season and it's a pity that after publication of the society's season leaflet in summer 2015 the Quartet changed the entire programme they had agreed and for which tickets had been sold and compounded this pop-diva attitude by giving no reason for doing so. If their golden progress is to continue they will have to understand their responsibility to their audience who, in this case, paid for one product but were given another.
Programme changes occur, of course, but because of last-minute emergency. This change was no emergency as it was made public at the society's concert last month. In 50 years of organising, managing and occasionally writing about concerts this is the first time I have come across a complete programme change made for no apparent reason. It is not acceptable.
Having said that, the Aurea's performance was acceptable and characterised by power and intensity. Haydn's Op 64 No 6 Quartet is among his wittiest, but here rather earnest. The second movement andante has been described as a tantrum sandwiched between two sections of serenity - and the 15 bars in which the first violin throws his toys out of the pram were effectively done. The finale - full of Haydn's best tricks including unpredictable stops before a dash for the end - was nicely judged.
The Aureas gave Beethoven's Op 18 no 4 Quartet a strong and muscular first movement with confident forward motion and they achieved fine contrast in the lighthearted second movement with its hints at the slow movement of the first symphony. There was sustained drama in the third movement - not easy to do in a minuet and trio but absolutely right for Beethoven's mood - and they produced some heavy Beethovenian jollity in the finale.
Tchaikovsky's First String Quartet, an exercise in 19th century romance rooted in 18th century classicism, has achieved enduring popularity largely due to its hittune second movement, here played for all its Slavic soulful worth. In fact, the whole thing was played with lyrical lushness and ardour.