Classical review: Quartet-Lab


What is it? The experimental quartet – Pekka Kuusisto and Patricia Kopatchinskaja on violins, Lilli Maijala (viola) and Pieter Wispelwey (cello) – play Beethoven, Britten, Bartok, Mozart, William Byrd, and George Crumb.

The Independent says: “Signifying their subversive intent with a lower-case title, quartet-lab aim to revolutionise the quartet repertoire … The second half [was] riveting, starting with two more Bartok duos (this time with viola and violin, creating a new texture) followed by the lament from Britten’s Cello Suite, before segueing – as though it was the most natural thing in the world – into a performance of that composer’s String Quartet No 2, where their combined virtuosity took the breath away.”

They say: The Times: “We must take quartet-lab seriously, for they are superb. Formed last summer by four distinguished string soloists, the group has quickly bonded into a fiery ensemble … quartet-lab’s most jaw-dropping gift was the unanimity of ensemble and attack. Through hairpin dynamics, lurching accents, or phrasings sweet as apple cider, the four played as one.”

You say: @I_love_darrenc: “A truly great concert … Phenomenal playing, both individually and together!”