Soirees at Breinton, January 2013

Soirees at Breinton

Bishopsgate Institute, London - January 15, 2013
Review by Kumi Smith-Gordon

First, if I hadn’t checked Facebook yesterday and seen my friend Tamaki’s posting, I would have missed this wonderful opportunity to hear her Villiers Quartet at the Bishopsgate Institute. But luckily I had!

Then, today, I almost gave up going. I did set off allowing enough time to be at Liverpool Street for their 1.10pm concert. However when I drove into the Woking car park I normally use, there was no space! After a frantic search I eventually found a different car park, parked rather terribly and dashed to the station.

Out of breath, I reached the destination just on time. As soon as I sat down, the Villiers Quartet appeared on stage. OK, time to get ready for Haydn and Beethoven!

We heard the following pieces:

- Quartet in G major Op. 77 No.1 by Haydn

- Quartet in B flat major Op. 18 No. 6 by Beethoven

As it started, they brought me into the world of joyous music - what a refreshing and lovely allegro moderato in Haydn’s first movement. That was a strikingly good start to this concert and certainly captured my full attention. Throughout the Haydn piece, the Villiers Quartet maintained their high spirits and full commitment; it was vivid and alive. The 2nd violin, viola and cello worked in fabulous harmony, perfectly supporting the first violin’s beautiful melodies. The dialogue between each instrument was apparent - questions and responses were tossed back and forth between the instruments.

The same could be said for the Beethoven. I particularly liked the adagio, 2nd movement, because it was so serene and tranquil – it put me in a state of mental relaxation! Their full commitment and emotional involvement brought out a reliable and high quality performance.

So, my peaceful one hour went by very quickly! To me it was a perfect lunch time treat. The Quartet will appear at Woking Concert Society in their next season. I very much look forward to it, but I certainly hope to hear them again before that.

By the way the Bishopsgate Institute features some wonderful lunch time recitals on Tuesdays in conjunction with City Music Society. It is one of my favourite venues to escape into music; for further information, please visit