Sacconi Quartet – Sunday 15th September 2013
To begin the 72nd season the Marlborough College Concert Series presented the Sacconi String Quartet in a varied programme of music by Haydn, Benjamin Britten and Beethoven. The Sacconis are a young quartet on the rise and on this performance it’s easy to see why. Brimming with sparkle, energy and fizz this was a performance of real class and flair, with a freshness that comes with the flourish of youth and the audience clearly enjoyed themselves. The Haydn Quartet that opened proceedings was precise, neat and nimble – a perfect curtain raiser to Britten’s 2nd String Quartet which followed. 2013 is the 100th anniversary of the composer’s birth so it was a fitting inclusion and following an informative introduction from viola player Robin Ashwell, we were treated to a spirited and atmospheric performance of this marvellous work. There was the necessary vigour and robust attack alongside some breath-taking colours, and ensemble was judged to perfection, making for an altogether memorable performance.
There was only one work in the second half, but what a work. Beethoven’s late quartet Opus 132 is a truly immense piece and timeless in its ability to sound utterly original on each hearing and the Sacconi’s rendition was both persuasive and polished. Late Beethoven presents significant musical and technical challenges for the players: optimum control, precision in phrasing, unification of intonation and significant stamina to name but a few, but again, the Sacconi Quartet didn’t disappoint – on the contrary, they warmed to the task in hand delivering a truly special performance. A fitting start to the 2013/2014 season.