Christ Church Cathedral, 8.00pm November 20th 2010
Mozart, Mendelssohn and Brahms were explored respectively in this particular concert. The musicians bounce off each other, trilling back and forth with dialogue-style musical phrases. They bring a great joy to their playing, whilst also managing to maintain an incredible level of focus, ending each movement with such silence and poise that you hold your breath for fear of disturbing the zen-like calm. The musicians, all of whom spent a significant part of their lives training in Jerusalem, work so seamlessly together that it feels as if they have worked as a quartet for many generations. They have actually been playing together since 1993.
The setting of Christ Church Cathedral too must be praised, not so much in itself (we wouldn’t want it getting too big for its boots) but in what it gave to the majesty of the music, letting it ring out around its lofty wooden beams and swirling stone.
The Jerusalem String Quartet really makes clear why so many composers, particularly from the late 18th Century onwards, wrote so prolifically for the string quartet. When performed well, a piece of quartet music is so effective because it attains a level of intimacy that pulls the listener in, with each instrument being heard at once distinctively and as an integral part of the whole. There is also a sense of delicacy to the music that an orchestra, for example, could never achieve, a vulnerability that is very beautiful.