At the Musique en Sol festival in Paunat, in the Dordogne department of France, for an excellent and varied concert with Quatuor Agate and Israeli pianist Adi Neuhaus.
The concert opened with Chopin’s ‘Fantasy in F minor’, a very expressive single-movement work, generally regarded as one of the composer’s finest. It was very passionately played by Adi Neuhaus. The first half continued with Beethoven’s ‘String Quartet no. 13’. Completed during the final years of the composers life, the Quartet was controversial when first performed. The final movement, a difficult lengthy fugue, was negatively received and was replaced. However, it has been resurrected in recent performances and recordings, as it was by the Agate Quartet this evening, enabling the work to be heard as Beethoven originally intended. The whole piece was extremely well played, but the fugue was superb.
The ‘Piano Quintet’ of Shostakovich completed the evening’s performance. Written for the Beethoven Quartet in 1940, it was a great success on it’s first performance at the Moscow Conservatory and received the Stalin Prize. Tonight it was also extremely well played by the joint forces of Adi Neuhaus and the Agate Quartet. Whilst lurking dark shadows could often be discerned, especially from the piano, not surprising given the period during which it was written, the work was dramatically, sometimes even flamboyantly, performed, with the scherzo particularly enjoyable.
Chopin; ‘Fantasy in f minor’, opus 49; Beethoven: ‘String Quartet no. 13 in b flat major’, opus 130, with ‘Grosse Fuge’, opus 133; Shostakovich: ‘Quintet for Piano and Strings in g minor’, opus 57.