Music review: Takács Quartet, Queen’s Hall

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The Takács Quartet surely represents everything that is the epitome of the string quartet.

Takács Quartet, Queen’s Hall (*****)

Collectively, they play with consummate mastery, a consistent evenness of tone and balance across the ensemble, and a shared interpretation of the music they perform that brings it alive with the freshness of a new dawn.

In a skilfully constructed programme at the Queen’s Hall yesterday morning, they shifted imperceptibly from the understatement of Mozart’s D major String Quartet K575 to the breeziness of Dvořák’s well-known ‘American’ Quartet No 12 before the seamless addition of pianist Marc-André Hamelin for the even richer scored textures of Dohnányi’s Piano Quintet No 1, which, as his first adult composition, is also rather astonishingly his Opus 1.

Tweaking the sweet tone of the Dvořák to take on something altogether creamier and full, especially from first violin Edward Dusinberre, the melodic invention of this relatively infrequently heard composer had a vibrancy that brooded, danced, pulled heart-strings and swaggered to the final jaunty theme that dominated its glorious conclusion.