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9 October 2018 - The Piano Quartet

Review by William Charlton-Perkins

ARTISTS: Andrew Warburton (Piano), Violeta Osorhean (Violin), David Snaith (Viola), Aristide du Plessis (Cello)
VENUE: Durban Jewish Club
DATE: Tuesday 9 October 2018
 
In the wake of an exhilarating concert, a reviewer needs must step back a while, and wait, to avoid resorting to hyperbole in appraising the magic that has been experienced.  That said, I cannot recall when last I was party to such an audience ‘rush’ as this FOM event accorded those of us who came to enjoy an evening of Dvořák, Mozart and Gabriel Fauré, dispatched by four of Durban’s finest at the peak of their form. 

Clearly, 2018 will go down as Andrew Warburton’s Annus Mirabilis. On Tuesday, the pianist thrilled admirers by capping a recent series of critically acclaimed recitals in KwaZulu-Natal, with a display of the finest ensemble playing, superbly matched in three of the repertoire’s most taxing scores, by his remarkable colleagues, violinist Violeta Osorhean, violist David Snaith and cellist Aristide du Plessis. 

If ever the dictum of American mezzo soprano, Joyce DiDonato, one of today’s leading opera stars, needed underscoring, namely that unstinting work must go into the preparation for a performance, for an artist to be free to fly to untold heights, this was one such occasion. Not only were the hours of dedicated practice palpable that these four players had put them themselves through, but also the sheer commitment and enjoyment that came with it. 

And how the results showed, as they took on - and relished - the challenges embedded in the rigours and wonderful scapes of nature found in Dvorak’s youthful D Major Piano Quartet Opus 23; then going on to strike a dizzying balancing act, as they enacted the tumultuous drama of Mozart’s G minor Quartet K478; before scaling the heights of Faure’s hugely daunting C minor Piano Quartet Opus 15, probing with fine restraint, the heart ache of the great work’s profoundly moving third movement Adagio. 

Random sound images from the evening’s listening keep recurring. The exquisite, pin-prick delicacy of the three string player’s pizzicati, lightly tossed from one to the next; Osorhean’s finely-etched, lavishly-sustained legato line, her shimmering pianissimo tone; Snaith’s ‘old soul’ capacity to listen, and to meld his burnished playing with the sonorities of his colleagues’ delivery; the warm, vibrant groundswell of du Plessis’s lush sound; and, endlessly satisfying, Warburton’s indefatigable virtuosity, his matchless command of style from one piece to the next. 

More please. And soon.      

Foot note: Osorhean’s fledgling pupils, pianist-violinist Weien Amy Luo (10) and violinist Xizhi Aiden
Luo (7) made endearing appearances in the evening’s Prelude Performers slot.

Review by William Charlton-Perkins