Darlington and Stockton Times, May 2016

Review: Villiers Quartet, Influence Church, Richmond / 20 May 2016 / by Amanda Adams

LOTS of anticipation heralded this the final concert in the Richmondshire Subscription Concerts season.

The Villiers is quartet in residency at Oxford University and leaves a trail of accolades and trophies in its wake on tours of the country.

Very often, a quartet produces a carbon copy of sound similar to others, not so with the Villiers which creates a sound that is rich, special and unique.

It was an interesting programme, and for me the highlight was the first piece, Quartet in D Minor Op. 56 by Sibelius from 1909.

Light as dance, then tense and powerful, it moves like a story with the listeners as characters. It morphed and had just a smattering of twinkle and stardust.

Quartet No. 1, Noche Del Amor Insomne, by Jose Gonzalez Granero, was written after the composer, who was born in 1985 and lives in the San Francisco Bay area, visited the home of Spanish National poet Frederica Garcia Lorca in Granada and was moved by the poem, A night of sleepless love.

This was a fun rendition with a smattering of passion, lots of conversation between the instruments, portraying reminiscences and nervousness.

The quartet ended the evening in grand scale with Beethoven’s Quartet in E Minor. Emotionally intense, this was almost like a favourite film where each time you watch it you see something you hadn’t noticed before. There was much to love. It sounded new, fresh and as alive as when it was written. The Allegretto was pin-sharp and fabulous.

-Amanda Adams