United Kingdom Beethoven. Signum String Quartet [Kerstin Dill & Annette Walther (violins), Xandi van Dijk (viola), Thomas Schmitz (cello)] Wigmore Hall, London. 2.3.2015. (LB)
String Quartet in B-flat Op. 130 with Grosse Fugue Op. 133 (1825-6)
The Signum Quartet, BBC New Generation Artists 2011-2013, enjoy a flourishing international career, and remain regular visitors to the United Kingdom where they have developed a reputation for passionate and rousing performances.
In this afternoon’s concert, broadcast live from the Wigmore Hall in London, they performed Beethoven’s Op. 130 Quartet with the originally intended Grosse Fugue Op. 133 as its final movement.
They began purposefully, with a level of assurance and musical maturity that inspired confidence. The performance continued to grow in stature as it progressed, and the quartet was more than equal to the technical and emotional challenges before it. Thoughtful intellectual analysis, complex musicianship, outstanding technical command, meticulous ensemble and a delightful level of imagination persuasively underpinned their Beethoven.
The Signum Quartet benefits from an uncommon maturity of outlook, but what really distinguishes it from many of its contemporaries is the vitality of its inner parts; Annette Walther is an exceptionally perceptive and dynamic second violinist, and violist Xandi van Dijk, who plays on a beautiful Landolfi, is ebullience personified.
The hour’s music to which we were treated, proved to be challenging and satisfying in equal measure, and the most uplifting lunchtime I have experienced for some time.
I look forward to the Signum Quartet’s next visit to the UK, and for those who were not able to attend the concert and who can access the BBC iPlayer, it is still available to listen to online.