Wednesday, February 16, 2011


The next day in the Queen's Elizabeth Hall the Takacs, resident string quartet on the South Bank, gave one of their regular concerts in the Queen Elizabeth Hall. Now unless one writes about the music played and the composers, a review of a Takacs concert these days is apt to be short and sweet. Once the words 'perfection' and 'faultless' have been set down, except, to mention the works played in the recital in question and perhaps mention the date of their next programme. it will be in the same hall on May 20 and will be an all-Schubert affair, with the big G major Quartet and the Trout quintet with double –bass and piano (ImogenCooper will do the tickling); o.k., see you there!

The Takacs now includes only two Hungarians – second fiddle and cello – but the quality remains as good as ever. It is a privelege to hear them. The items on January 25 were by Haydn, opus 71/1 in B flat, Bartok No. 3 and Smetana's E minor, From my Life.

Have you come across that story about Bartok in the twenties meeting Carl Nielsen? After playing some of his music to the Dane Bartok is said to have asked "does it sound modern enough?" but history doesn't tell us the tone of voice or the look on his face. If deadly serious it’s a rather damaging anecdote: if joking, its o.k. But would Bartok make jokes like that?

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