Review: The Consone Quartet, Buxton International Festival 

If the Fitzwilliam Quartet represents the old guard of British Chamber music then the Consone Quartet is very much one of the “new kids” coming to wider attention only in 2015. This afternoon recital included three pieces composed over a period of 40 years.

Schubert’s Overture in C minor is dated 1811, when Franz was just 14, and was composed for his family. You would not expect this to be the most sophisticated piece of writing but there some unexpected, daring moments and what it must have been to grow up in such a household!

Haydn’s six Prussian quartets, Op 50, were published in 1787. Today we heard Quartet No 40 – the fifth in the set – which has earned the nickname A Dream, on account of the second movement which may have been ‘dreamy’ but was also thoroughly engaging.Mendelssohn’s Quartet No 1 in E flat major, Op 12 is another early work completed in 1827 when he was 18.

It was dedicated to a close friend, Betty Pistor, for whom the young Felix evidently felt great affection and this may account for the romantic qualities of much of the music. Drenched in youthful declaration, if this was a love letter sadly it was unread.

The Consone plays with measured assurance. I look forward to hearing the Quartet play in Buxton again with a more challenging programme.

By Keith Savage