An accomplished and enthusiastic performance of a challenging programme to an attentive audience by the Doric Quartet at The Theatre by the Lake, Keswick as part of Keswick Music Society's season.
An unexpectedly intense musical experience at the end of a day of hiking in the spring sunshine was both a surprise and a pleasure. BBC Radio3 was broadcasting the concert live, a first for Keswick, presumably made feasible by the recent arrival here of a fibre optic internet connections.
The Doric String Quartet played vigorous and muscular Haydn which clearly engaged the audience's attention. The Keswick theatre is an intimate venue and the Keswick Music Society audience are used to performances of high quality. The combination was a rare intensity of shared experience which would only have been apparent to the radio audience through the musical intensity and the lack of audience noises.
The Doric's performers used the same approach for the Britten but the audience were less receptive despite the quartet's excellent ensemble throughout, including in Britten's difficult unison passages.
However the intensity of the performance of Beethoven's last Quartet was matched by a warm and sympathetic audience. Perhaps the Doric's approach lacked some shape and style in some of Beethoven's longer musical phrases, in particular the "Cavatina" (next to last movement), but their commitment and virtuosity were evident throughout.
A very satisfying experience in an excellent venue.
Theatre by the Lake, Keswick
Haydn: Quartet in D Op 76 No 1
Britten: Quartet No 2 in C Op 36
Beethoven: Quartet in B flat Op 130 (with Der Grosse Fuge)
The Doric String Quartet
Alex Reddington (violin)
Jonathan Stone (violin)
Hélène Clément (viola)
John Myerscough (cello)