JEALOUSY, THE GREEN MONSTER at the DELFT CHAMBER MUSIC FESTIVAL

We seem to be working our way through all aspects of love and tonight concentrated on one of its less attractive sides – jealousy.

The concert got under way with Jean Sibelius’s aptly titled Svartsjukans nätter – Night of Jealousy. The beautifully melodic opening passage played by Elina Vähälä on violin, John Meyerscough on cello and Hans Eijsackers on piano became accompaniment for the rest of the piece which consisted of Swedish text read by Susanne Degerfros with occasional backing by soprano Katrien Baerts who was singing somewhere off stage at the back of the room.

We have certainly not been short of Kreutzer Sonatas of late. Yesterday we had the original Beethoven version as part of the Young Talent event and this evening we had Leoš Janáček’s piece, inspired by the eponymous novel by Leo Tolstoy – which in turn had been inspired by the Beethoven, which was named after the celebrated violinist Rodolphe Kreutzer . . . I hope you are following this.

Janáček’s Kreutzer (String Quartet No. 1) was performed with gusto by the excellent Doric String Quartet. This is a piece I had not heard before and I enjoyed it very much. It ranges between very melodic moments and more aggressive passages. This is demonstrated in the third movement Con moto – Vivo – Andante where the first violin and cello play softly and romantically while having to contend with jagged interventions from the viola and second violin. The effect was dramatic and very powerful.

I was beginning to experience withdrawal symptoms from not having heard Liza Ferschtman play for a nearly a week so I was glad to see her walk on stage after the interval, violin in hand, to take part in the string quintet version of Beethoven’s Kreutzer Sonata. No disrespect to Niek Baar and Ben Kim who played the original so beautifully yesterday, but I have to say I prefer this form. Although the spotlight does not fall so much on the solo violinist’s virtuosity I find the quintet much more lively and exciting and the extra cello adds depth and richness to the piece. The ensemble, in which Ms Ferschtman was joined by violinist Malin Broman, Jennifer Stumm on viola and cellists Giovanni Gnocchi and Jakob Koranyi, was magnificent and left the stage to rapturous applause and cries of bravo from the enthusiastic audience which was safe in the knowledge it had witnessed something very special.  Michael Hasted  4th August 2018

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