The Haydn D Major quartet was one of the significant waymarks on the journey as the string quartet came out of the closet, or out of the court chambers, and into the concert hall, and the Solem made light work of its brilliance and bravura.
The Solem addressed this Bartok with heartfelt brio and winningly understated virtuosity. Bartok makes cruel fingering and bowing demands on his first violin especially, but Amy Tress led an inspired reading that illuminated the folkloric and dance imperatives of the score.
The Solem Quartet’s performance was full of energy and extremely engaging both sonically and visibly, with the piece dramatised by a strong emphasis on Beethoven’s characteristically heavy accents and close attention paid to the dynamic subtleties found in the piece.
The highlight of the evening was undoubtedly the Beethoven Quartet no 12 in E flat major, which was played with dedication and aplomb. The changes of tempo and mood were skilfully handled, at times putting the audience on the edge of their seats.