Doric String Quartet & Brett Dean, Queens Hall, Review

Edinburgh Festival review
Rating (out of 5)
Show info
Doric String Quartet
Haydn; Dean; Brahms (Composers)
Alex Redington (Violin); Ying Xue (Violin); Hélêne Clément (Viola); John Myerscough (Cello); Brett Dean (Viola)
Running time

The Quartet was formed 21 years ago, and this long-term collaboration really shows in the ease with which they communicate during the performance. Each member of the Quartet throws themselves into the full body of the music with such commitment that the audience is taken on a wonderful, energetic and passionate journey through the pieces performed.

The opening piece, Haydn’s String Quartet in E flat major Op 33 No 2, ‘The Joke’, is a joy to listen to, as the humour in this is captured beautifully. The audience is swept along with the telling of the story; the timing is absolutely perfect as the punchline is reached, launching a sea of grins within the listening crowd.

The next piece, String Quartet No 3, ‘Hidden Agendas’ by Brett Dean, in its European premiere and specially written for the Doric String Quartet, is a tempestuous, thrilling journey in sound. The tension is palpable as the story builds; when moments of quiet and thought arrive, the audience is on tenterhooks right to the denouement.

For the final piece, Brahms’ String Quintet No 2 in G major Op 111, the Quartet is joined by composer Dean. This brings a different, gentler pace to the group, but leads to a delightful and engaging airing of Brahms’ work. The progress through the piece is charmingly defined, with silences that are kept alive, adding to the nuances within the performance. The thunderous applause with which the concert is concluded is well-deserved.

Times: this run has concluded