Dorset County Museum Music Society

Jubilee String Quartet Review

Coming up with a suitable name for a string quartet is not an easy task. However, the Jubilee Quartet took a more unusual approach, and is named after the tube line they all lived near as students; fortunately for them, not the Bakerloo Line!

Wednesday’s concert in the Victorian Gallery of the County Museum began with Haydn’s Opus 103 quartet. This is a two movement work composed circa. 1800, but not published until 1806, by which time Haydn was in poor health. This unfinished quartet is a fine example of the huge impact Haydn’s sixty-seven string quartets had on the genre, and the Jubilee Quartet performed it very elegantly and fluently.

The other piece before the interval was Mozart’s E flat Major Quartet, K 428. This four-movement quartet is one of a set of six he composed in Vienna between 1783 and 1785. When Haydn heard it performed he said “I tell you before God, as an honest man, that your son is the greatest composer whom I know personally or by name; he has taste, and over and above that, the greatest knowledge of the Science of composition.” Quite an endorsement! The Jubilee quartet performed it with great style, excellent ensemble, and much panache in the finale.

After spending the interval admiring the County Museum’s wonderful exhibition of railway posters and other memorabilia ‘Speed to the West’, we re-assembled to hear Janacek’s ‘Intimate Letters’ quartet.

This was Janacek’s last completed work, and chronicles the many letters he wrote to a married woman some thirty-seven years his junior. Each of the four movements is a musical description of his yearning for Kamila Stosslova. Listening to the Jubilee Quartet’s performance, I reflected on how fortunate they were to have as leader the Czech violinist, Tereza Privratska. Her natural understanding of Janacek’s music was evident for all to hear, and gave the performance the true stamp of authority. Their playing was full of passion, and very important in Janacek, exhibited great rhythmical accuracy. Judging from all the applause, the large audience was obviously very appreciative! The society’s next concert, on April 20th, features the excellent Leonore Piano Trio playing Beethoven, Dvorak, and Schubert.

Review by Russell Dawson