Nothing casual about the playing, though: the Kocian belongs to a seemingly unending line of fine quartets from the former Czechoslovakia. Its strengths include intense but unforced feeling for melody - cello especially relishing lyrical moments, viola firm and clear at the centre - and a scrupulous balance which makes for irresistible rhythmic life, animated from within the part-writing. In all it's a lighter sound than we are used to from West European players, passionate without needing to be laboured or frantic.
The guest bassist, Chi-chi Nwanoku, might well have been frantic, having lost her music en route at Bremen Airport when a wartime bomb was discovered and detonated. An extra half-hour interval held up the Quintet while taxis were despatched for replacement parts, and the performance took a couple of movements to unwind. Its eventual delight was an easily flowing Andante, and the same sense of all-the-time-in-the-world held through the corresponding parts of Schubert's Trout Quintet, with Boris Krajny the subtle and spirited pianist.
Final concert 2 December; sponsored by Bankers Trust CompanyReuse content