The spirit of Beethoven hung over this recital, the first evening engagement played in Britain by the new line-up of the Juilliard String Quartet – there had been given a BBC lunchtime concert the previous day, also Wigmore Hall. Of the players who were in the ensemble the last time I saw them ‘live’, only veteran Ronald Copes remains: he has been in place since 1997. Leader Areta Zhulla joined at the start of this season, vastly experienced British violist Roger Tapping in 2013 and cellist Astrid Schween in 2016. For the first time, an entity which for decades was solidly male is now split evenly between the sexes. Thus a group founded in 1946 continues to evolve…
The unusual third movement – neither a Minuet nor a Scherzo – was delightful and the Presto Finale zipped along, right up to a beautifully achieved humorous ending which brought some audible sighs of appreciation from the audience.
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