Quartetto di Cremona
Acclaim
Simply so impressive

THE Gower Festival has hosted many fine quartets over the years, including such luminaries as the Belcea, the Skampa and the Wihan, but I don't remember ever being more impressed than by the remarkable Quartetto di Cremona. From the opening bars of a Haydn quartet their playing was so simple, so clean, crisp and sparkling, that you just knew you were in safe hands. And who better to play the rarely-heard quartet by Verdi, in his bicentenary year, than a group formed about twenty miles up the road from Verdi's birthplace? It's an intricate, restless work, with few signs of its composer's normal practice, apart from the beautifully played cello aria in the trio of the third movement.
Beethoven's late C minor quartet, far from being rarely heard, is one of the absolute pinnacles of the repertoire, unsurpassed in its demands on the technique, musicality and stamina of any outfit that attempts it. Again the Cremona's playing was so effortlessly unfussy that the music emerged fresh and vital, never weighed down by the excessive reverence with which some quartets approach it. Some of the dialogue passages for cello and viola in particular were sublimely sensitive. They are currently recording the complete Beethoven quartets, and the impression they left at Llanrhidian was that their performances will be both beautiful and utterly trustworthy.

South Wales Evening Post
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