Arditti Quartet / Jake Arditti

Review of Arditti Quartet
Wigmore Hall
3 February 2011

Like other instruments of torture, the scores of Brian Ferneyhough are objects of rare fascination. His sixth and most recent string quartet is no exception. Improbable time signatures measure impossible rhythms, while an array of notations observe constant and extreme dynamic fluctuations. It is, strictly speaking, unplayable, and performers are directed not towards perfection but only towards a kind of improved failure. Obscuring many of the more striking rhythmic figures, and damping the dynamic range to a numb mezzo-piano, the Ardittis' failure ranked fair to middling.

Praise is due nonetheless. Despite its approximations, the performance still successfully conveyed a sense of the work's beauty. Fresh and full, at its heart is a play of gestures which are born of rare grace....

To read the rest of this review at the Guardian, click here.

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