Tuesday, 1 November 2011
The Belcea String Quartet invite me to attend a rehearsal for the next concert in their Beethoven cycle. I can hear Op95 The Serioso through the window of the West London apartment where they are disturbing the neighbours with the passionate intensity of their play. The rehearsal becomes increasingly focused as they edge towards teatime. I first heard them in 1998 at one of the South Place Sunday Concerts at Conway Hall where they played under a banner proclaiming the ethicist's motto To Thine Own Self Be True. They played Beethoven then too - the third Razumovsky - which helped them to a Gramophone nomination when it appeared on disc. They have all the equipment: lightness for the scherzos, profundity for the slow movements and a certain argumentativeness as the themes vie for surpremacy in the development sections.