Tim Homfray hears the performance of Haydn and Mendelssohn at London’s Wigmore Hall on 12 March 2023
The Consone Quartet offered a polished and genial reading of the opening Allegro moderato of Haydn’s ‘Joke’ Quartet op.33 no.2, at least until the minor-key development, at which point there was a marked change in the emotional temperature. The Scherzo had a nice touch of humorous question-and-answer to it, though the portamentos of the Trio were heavy-handed: surely they are essentially part of the melody, not a tavern-band lark. By contrast, the Largo was floating and simple, while the leader Agata Daraškaite gave the Presto finale plenty of personality, complete with the occasional portamento. The quartet did its best to wrong-foot us with the false endings, but the Wigmore audience was wise to it.
In the first movement of Mendelssohn’s E flat major Quartet op.44 no.3 Daraškaite produced silky melodic lines, with the players passing the spinning-wheel semiquavers deftly between them. The Scherzo bubbled along nicely, its fugal section growing steadily, while the final pages surged before receding into quietness. In the Adagio non troppo there was an air of hushed spiritual intensity, played with extreme lyricism, in which the quavers of the opening theme almost blurred into each other; it was a beautifully shaped meditation. The exhilarating Molto allegro con fuoco finale opened in a whirl of semiquavers, the interplay between the four absolutely immaculate.