To a packed Wigmore Hall again last week, to hear the Pavel Haas Quartet. The concert started with Schubert’s Quartettsatz and ended with Dvořák’s A flat Quartet, Op. 105, both wonderfully well played. But in between, there was one of the greatest chamber music performances I have ever heard, whether live or recorded. The PHQ played Schubert’s A minor ‘Rosamunde’ Quartet with stunningly controlled emotional intensity to an absolutely rapt sell-out audience. They play with little vibrato and even less portamento on nineteenth century Czech instruments, which gives a sound far from over-smooth, and utterly suited to Schubert’s melancholic lament for lost innocence, lost content, in this Quartet. Extraordinary ensemble playing from all four of them — though Veronika Jarůšková (always a striking presence) was simply spellbinding.
Apologies though: it is no great joy to read about events you have missed! Still, I’m allowing myself to note last week’s concert because it also gives me an opportunity to tell you about another PHQ concert that you can still hear. Earlier in the year, they played an all-Shostakovich concert in Brussels — the String Quartet no 7, Op. 108, Second Piano Trio Op. 67, and Piano Quintet Op. 57: the pianist was Boris Giltburg. You can now catch a recording of the concert for 30 days on WDR 3 radio, here.
And a request: did anyone reading this happen to record the broadcast of the PHQ’s Edinburgh concert which I mentioned here? If so, I’d really like to hear from you, as I managed to foul up the recording of it myself.