Takács Quartet in Cambridge

The best string quartet now performing? Many think so. Their discography is astonishing. So it was a simply wonderful chance to hear the Takács Quartet live in Cambridge last night in the very intimate surroundings of the Peterhouse Theatre which seats just 180. They played the two Quartets Op 51 by Brahms, and Haydn’s Quartet in D, Op 76 no. 5. Haydn apart that was not, to be honest, a programme I was particularly looking forward to, Brahms not being a favourite of mine. But the performances were wonderful, with such rhythmic verve and expressive range, such seamless ensemble, such emotional attack, that I was much more convinced by the Brahms than I’d ever been before. While the Haydn was simply the most joyful experience. The audience was obviously bowled over, and the Takács seemed to respond warmly to the considerable intimacy of the setting, which must be unusual for them these days. Three cheers, and more besides, to the very generous donors who make the Camerata Musica series possible. Next up, András Schiff playing the last three Beethoven sonatas …

[The Guardian has reviewed the Takács’s two Brahmsian programmes at the Wigmore Hall.]

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