Concert 5. Wednesday 15 February 2012 8pm Print






Quartet in D Op.20/4


Quartet No.3 Op.34


Quartet in D minor B810 [Death & the Maiden]



Described by Gramophone Magazine as ‘one of the finest young string quartets’, whose members are ‘musicians with fascinating things to say’, the Doric String Quartet have received exceptional praise for their Haydn performances.  Their first CD, the complete Korngold String Quartets, was released in September 2010 and featured as one of the 2010 “Critic’s Choice” discs in Gramophone.   In 2008 they won first prize at the Osaka International Chamber Music Competition and second prize at the Premio Paolo Borciani International String Quartet competition.  Highlights of 2011 include the Doric’s American debut at the Frick Museum in New York and the Library of Congress in Washington.





“[Korngold] . . . impeccable ensemble playing dotted with individual contributions that glitter and gleam like burnished gold in a Gustav Klimt.”  BBC Review


“From the technical standpoint the players are superb, but, beyond that, they blend together as though of one mind – the touchstone of any such group.”





A Highlight of the Season at the Ilkley Concert Club


The Doric Quartet has received high praise in the musical press and their first visit to Ilkley was eagerly awaited; we hope it won’t be their last. They gave us an evening of high-octane music-making that will be long remembered. Their cellist, acting as lively compère for the evening, congratulated the club on its full house, something that even an award-winning group such as this can’t be guaranteed in other venues! The impact of their playing on the audience can be gauged not only by the vociferously enthusiastic applause it received, but also by the complete sell-out of key works in their repertoire on CD in the interval.


Their interpretations were deeply thought through and their technical control was total. Their use of vibrato was masterly. In the Haydn Quartet Op 20 No. 4 occasional key notes were stressed by its subtle use, otherwise it was absent, yet the raw scrawny vibrato-less tone that some ‘period’ groups produce was totally avoided. In the second movement of the Schubert ‘Death and the Maiden’ Quartet the contrast between the vibrato-less theme and the ensuing variations where it was sometimes richly deployed was telling.


In the scherzo of the Korngold Quartet no.3 the virtuosity of the playing, especially the bowing and the powerful pizzicati was remarkable. The clever use of portamento (slides between notes) in the trio which recycles music from a film score, took us straight back to Hollywood. Throughout the quiet playing was especially noteworthy, the sound sometimes approaching inaudibility with magical effect. Equally telling where bold forceful effects were required they gave their all.


This was some of the most musically colourful playing I’ve heard from a string quartet. But all this technical excellence would be as nothing if the imagination and creative insight into what the music was about was lacking, but it was there abundantly. Their interpretations took such exciting risks; as a keen-eared audience member said to me afterwards ‘you have to be young to be that brave’.




The following recordings were recommended in the programme:



The Auryn Quartet are recording all the Haydn Quartets and their performances of the Op.20 set are superb. The discs are very well recorded and make an excellent first choice on Tacet 187 (2 CDs at medium price). A very good alternative is provided by the Buchberger Quartet who give very lively readings of all the Op. 20 Quartets on Brilliant Classics 93545 (2 CDs around the cost of 1 Naxos disc). The Buchbergers play less repeats than the Auryn Quartet.



Tonight’s artists have made an excellent recording of all 3 Quartets on Chandos CHAN 10611 (full price). The performances have been critically acclaimed and the recording quality is very good.



The Takacs Quartet moved from Decca to Hyperion, and their disc of Schubert’s 13th. And 14th. (Death and the Maiden) Quartets have received highly justified superb reviews. The recording quality is excellent and the CD is on Hyperion CDA 30019 (medium price). For around the same price there is a 2 CD set from Decca 446 163 2, where the Quartetto Italiano give warmly romantic performances of the last 4 Schubert Quartets. The analogue recording has been very well transferred to CD.


Raymond Waud




HOSPITALITY – VOLUNTEERS NEEDED: We already have a number of people who offer hospitality to visiting artists. This usually involves overnight accommodation, and it gives the artists a chance to wind down after the concert. Members who provide hospitality tell us what a pleasure it is, and how much they enjoy talking to the artists. The Club makes a contribution to help to cover costs. Later this season there are some larger Groups that will be playing and we may need some additional volunteers. If you can help by offering hospitality for one or more artists, please contact Josephine Wesley (ICC Honorary Secretary) 01943 601248 or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .


TICKET "RETURNS": We have had an unprecedented number of requests for single tickets for every concert so far this Season. Thanks to all members who, on finding that they would have to miss a concert, have let us know. Remember, if you can't come, please phone 01943 609744 (10 am to 7pm only) or email ( This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it up to the day before the concert) giving your name and the seat number(s). You do not have to return the ticket. As usual, refunds may be collected at the desk in the Winter Garden during an interval.


ENCORE: The spirited encore played by Adrian Brendel and Leon McCawley was 'Five Pieces in Folk Style, Op. 102' number 1 in A minor by Robert Schumann. The cello played by Adrian is a Stradivarius of 1683 – one of 70 to 80 cellos that he made in his long life. According to Adrian, when compared with modern instruments it has complex overtones and a somewhat unpredictable nature that makes it very interesting to play.


THE PIANO: After the last concert Leon McCawley remarked to me that we have a wonderful piano. I related the story that the superb Steinway Model C is only at the King's Hall because its predecessor was dropped. To which he replied "I was due to play another piano that was dropped – a Bösendorfer" – the incident was widely reported in the press in 2007. Yes! – that was shortly before Leon was due to play said piano at the Two Moors Festival (Exmoor & Dartmoor).


AUDIENCE ACCOLADE: In an email, Leon McCawley said "I really enjoyed my visit and both Adrian and I were immensely touched by the terrific response from the audience and for its warmth and great support."