L to R, Enrique Cabrera (violin) Victoria Frances (violin) Stephen Dennison (Cranleigh Arts) Rosalia Sanchez (Viola) Miriam Wakeling (cello)
The 2019 classical season at Cranleigh Arts got off to a fine start with Isbilia String Quartet playing to a large and appreciative audience on January 16.
Isbilia regularly tour Spain and the UK and have featured at several London prime chamber music venues including St Martin-in-the-Fields, Wigmore Hall and King’s place. In 2016 they won the coveted “John Barbirolli String Quartet Competition”.
For Cranleigh they brought three quartets by Beethoven, Brahms and Shostakovich. Beethoven’s “La Malinconia”, written around 1800, is one of his early quartets. After a lyrical second movement and rhythmic third movement the Adagio opens with the famous theme noted by the composer “to be played with the greatest delicacy” The Isbilia performers certainly lived up to that.
We moved on to the more romantic style Brahms Quartet No 2 with strong tuneful leads from violin and cello. Interestingly, Brahms had earlier written more than a dozen string quartets and scrapped the lots. We are lucky this one survived.
Shostakovich’s Quartet no 8 really captured the audience’s interest. Written in 5 days during a visit to Dresden it brings to life the dreadful destruction of the city in 1945. In particular, the rat-tat-tat of the Bofors anti-aircraft gun beats out a rhythm in the third movement. Although quite a short piece it moves at a lively pace to paint a musical picture of war that touches the soul.
Isbilia Quartet played with beautiful team work, with powerful contrasts between violin and cello in each piece. This professional group were very complimentary of the auditorium of Cranleigh Arts Centre as an ideal venue to play, unlike many churches. They felt a real closeness to the audience, and that the whole space captured the emotion of the music. Finally, the quartet dressed in a blaze of colour which enhance the enjoyment of the audience.
The next concert at Cranleigh Arts is Friday 22 February at 1930; piano solo from Amiran Zenaishvili playing Beethoven, Rachmaninoff, Barber and Brahms. Amiran is fresh from his debut at Carnegie Hall, New York and promises an exciting evening. The box office can be contacted on 01483 278000 or tickets purchased online through the new website.