Solem Quartet, Live


Fortuitous timing permitted me to attend this revitalising concert just days before London plunged into Tiers 3 and then 4. A couple of months ago, on spec, I had booked for Spotlight Chamber Concerts, something unknown to me, in a local church, St John’s Waterloo. There was a feeling of public life being about to close down as we carefully made our way through the very dark building, to seats behind the string quartet setup, which of course was spotlit.


What followed was probably the perfect concert to feast on during an upcoming period, length unknown, when we won’t be able to enter musical buildings again. In fact, still on the food metaphor, Beethoven’s op 130 Quartet was like a generous hamper, full of sustenance, but so economically packed away in those six neat, fast-developing movements. (Even the famous Cavatina fairly zipped along, in this performance.)


Clarinettist Anthony Friend was responsible for organising this valuable series (later to include Steven Isserlis and Angela Hewitt, though this last concert fell after the imposition of Tier 3 and had to be cancelled). I loved the casual seating arrangements (socially distancingly correct, of course) and the naturalness of sitting in the round to be present with this brilliant and intense young group of musicians. Not for one minute did I wish I was in the nearby Southbank Centre, or even the sainted Wigmore Hall. In fact if, when concert life returns, it is all more like Spotlight Chamber Concerts, I will be delighted.

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JUDITH WEIR

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© Judith Weir, 2020