The Strad issue
Highly detailed yet risk-free performances, with rather dry sound
Taking the second prize in last year’s Wigmore Hall International String Quartet Competition in London, the Polish-based Meccorre Quartet has achieved a great deal since its formation five years ago, with appearances in major concert venues taking the players around much of Europe.
They don’t take interpretative risks in Mozart’s K387, but content themselves with a highly detailed reading that is unfailing in its observance of dynamic shading. Tempos are never rushed, and having particularly enjoyed their playful reading of the Minuet, I found the bouncy approach to the finale most agreeable, the false ending wittily handled.
Their Beethoven is very different and reminds me of the Lindsays’ critically acclaimed recordings of yesteryear, technical perfection taking second place to the physical energy and spontaneity they bring to the music. At times the excitement in the opening Allegro is derived from rough-hewn vigour, yet in the slow movement they impart a burnished-toned serenity. Nothing is ever overstated, though the finale is taken at a fast pace that the composer would surely have enjoyed.
My partial disappointment comes in the close and dry sound, which clarifies inner detail, but is unlike the ambience we would hear in a concert hall.