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"...for warmth and intimacy and glorious surroundings, Llanfyllin can scarcely be beaten" - The Allegri Quartet

Concert Programme 2016

Chamber Concerts: St. Myllin's Church, Llanfyllin, Powys

Friday, 15th July 2016
BeethovenString quartet No. 6 Op. 18 No. 6,
JanáčekString quartet No. 2 “Intimate letters”
BrahmsString quartet No. 1, Op. 51 No. 1
Sunday, 17th July 2016
MendelssohnString Quartet No. 6, Op. 80
RothString quartet No 2
BeethovenString quartet No. 7, Op. 59 No. 1
(1st Razumovsky quartet)
Friday, 22nd July 2016
HaydnString Quartet No 28, Op. 20 No. 1 “Sun”
BrittenString quartet No. 3, Op 94
BeethovenString quartet No. 15, Op. 132 No. 15
Sunday, 24th July 2016
Guest artist to be announced
MozartString quartet No. 19 “Dissonance” K. 465
SchubertString quintet in C, Op. 163 “Cello”

The Allegri String Quartet
ViolinMartyn Jackson
ViolinRafael Todes
ViolaDorothea Vogel
VioloncelloVanessa Lucas-Smith

All concerts took place at 7.30pm at St. Myllin's Church, Llanfyllin.
(By kind permission of Rev. Hermione Long.)

2016 Concert Report

Regular Festival goers may recall that in 2015 Martyn Jackson stepped in as first violin at just a few days’ notice, since Ofer Falk was indisposed. In January 2016 Martyn officially took the position of first violin with the Allegri Quartet, which this year gave us some scintillating performances with freshness and verve.

Concert 1 started with an early Beethoven quartet, Op. 18 No 6, and continued with Janaček’s second string quartet Intimate Letters. This piece was the subject of much conversation during the interval – its passion and at times harshness impressed us; it’s certainly not a work to which one could remain indifferent. Brahms’s String quartet no 1 brought the evening to a close.

The audience for concert 2 arrived in evening sunshine, but inside the church Mendelssohn’s final string quartet, Op 80, was sombre, echoing the composer’s rage and grief following the death of his sister, Fanny. A change of mood followed, with Alec Roth’s 2nd string quartet, with its dancing motifs and intriguing rhythms. Discussing this music over interval drinks in the still warm churchyard, audience members decided that it had Indian influences. Roth is popular with Festival regulars, and copies of the Allegri’s new CD of his quartets 1 – 3 soon sold out. More Beethoven after the interval, Op. 59 from the “middle period, the first Razumovsky quartet, to send us home inspired by the genius which created such beautiful music.

By the following weekend word had got around that the 2016 Festival was not to be missed, and tickets at the door were selling very well indeed. Concert 3 began with the first of Haydn’s “Sun” quartets, Op. 20 No. 1, a four movement work with a serious, slow movement 3 contrasted with a sizzling finale. Moving forward from the 18th to the 20th century, Britten does not appeal to all, but even your reviewer had to admit that she was impressed with the music, and even enjoyed most of it. Britten fans were delighted, especially since he has perhaps never featured at a Festival concert before. Late Beethoven, the five movement Op. 132, with serene elements but an impassioned ending was the treat for the second half of the concert.

The regular audience came, and more people just kept coming! Tickets at the door disappeared; late arrivals were shoe-horned into pews, we put out extra chairs at the back. Heartening and rewarding for both organisers and performers to see such a full house – it makes everything worthwhile. Who could fail to enjoy the music of Mozart: the Dissonance quartet K465 with lyricism, elegance and exhilaration was a joy to hear. So too, but in stark contrast of mood, was Puccini’s all too short Crisantemi, a mourning elegy whose melodies later re-appeared in Manon Lescaut. Reinoud Ford joined the Allegri as guest cellist after the interval for Schubert’s string quintet Op 163 “Cello quintet”, with its rich textures, changes of mood from tragedy to happiness, and a bravado conclusion. A fine ending for a successful Festival.