Review: Haldon Quartet concert 18th May, 2018
On a beautiful early summer evening Friday 18th May, Bratton Clovelly was treated to something special: a quartet whose sensitivity to the music and to each other’s playing was so palpable that the audience sat captivated, hushed and utterly engaged
The programme was a joy, beginning with Mozart’s Hunt quartet and including Imogen Holst’s evocative Phantasy, with it’s poignant conversations between instruments and constant changes of tone, colour and mood. After the interval we had, by contrast, the enchantingly spare Summa by Arvo Part, followed by Dvorak’s American quartet with its folk elements and grand sweeping descriptions of space and movement. This was a clever programme for the audience, starting with the comfort of familiar sounds and then taking them on a constantly changing journey.
It wasn’t necessarily a typical classical music audience from Bratton Clovelly and surrounding villages, but it was enthusiastic. Many had never been to a classical concert before; some brought along young children. That this group cheered and clapped and wanted more, that the children sat quietly mesmerised, is testament to the ability of the Haldon to bring the quartet repertoire to deepest rural Devon and make it sing to all who listen.
The Haldon say of themselves that they love being together, playing together and this shows. They are not simply four highly skilled musicians who play very well together, but truly a quartet who lift the music off the page as one beautifully textured multi-voiced whole.
Thank you, Lindsay Braga, Steve Banks, Andrew Gillett and Rebecca Allnatt for a treat of an evening.Joanna Wallwork
Review: 8th June 2018
The Haldon Quartet played an intriguing programme of music at Calstock Arts on Friday 8th June. Our audience went home very happy! The evening took in late 18th century Germany, early & late 20th century England and Estonia plus 19th century Czechoslovakia/America along the way. Their relaxed but informative introductions to the music was well pitched and appropriate.
The evening opened with a measured interpretation of Mozart’s K458, ‘The Hunt’- one of his most well-known chamber works. This performance successfully focussed on the rich lyricism of the music as much as the excitement of the chase. A lovely, playful quartet that augured well what was to come. Imogen Holst’s “Phantasy Quartet” followed before the interval. This fairly short piece sets her firmly in the great English pastoral tradition of this period. Being much better known until recently as a teacher, administrator and arranger, it was good to hear one of her very early compositions played with such warmth. After the interval we were offered Arvo Part’s “Summa”. It was a brave selection by this group of musicians. Ostensibly a very simple piece essentially comprising repeated phrases exchanged back & forth, it presents challenges even to the most eminent of players. I’m not sure The Haldons managed to fully convey the ethereal and uplifting tone that Part intended but it was very interesting to hear.
Finally we were given Dvorak’s “American Quartet”. And what a gift it was! The highlight of the evening, it was a superb presentation of this composition. They fully captured the feeling that is both contemplative and passionate as well as the driving movement that is such a feature of this music. We were there on that train, crossing the expanses of the rolling plains. We shared the joyful contentment that Dvorak experienced on his American working holiday. It was beautifully and memorably conveyed by The Haldon Quartet and was an appropriately excellent ending for a rewarding evening of musicIan Craft