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Strathearn Music Society Review – Alkyona Quartet

17 November 2021 To answer the obvious question first: it’s the Greek word for a kingfisher, a bird which offers fleeting moments of deep, dazzling delight for those fortunate enough to spot one, leaving an indelible memory and an inner smile which long outlast its brief and often unexpected appearances.
And then the second: yes, they did, they dazzled and delighted!
A concert guaranteed to gladden the heart of all nostalgic, romantic spirits, this had the vital ingredients of attractive and intelligent programming, warm and convincing presentation and, above all, that sense of relaxed and balanced musicality which all chamber groups strive for. With Janacek’s “Intimate Letters” Quartet as centrepiece the evening succeeded at tugging at the heartstrings in so many different ways – the earthy and often uncomfortable passions of Janacek’s longing for his young muse framed by the haunting melancholy of Schubert’s inimitable inner voice in his “Rosamunde” Quartet no 13 in A minor and the wholesome and radiant lyricism of Borodin’s celebrated Quartet no 2 in D.
The Alkyona Quartet is a young ensemble, but obviously already strongly established, and the quality (as well as equality) evident in their teamwork was confirmed when first and second violinists (Emma Purslow and Marike Kruup) exchanged seats for the final piece. Equally impressive was the sensitivity of cellist Jobine Sickmann, exceptional in her instinct for blending with her fellow players, and Joseph Fisher, not a regular in the viola seat but whose contribution nevertheless seemed perfectly attuned to every nuance of the group. And did I mention that together they also make a simply wonderful sound? Their performance in Crieff on this occasion was partially sponsored by The Tunnell Trust, which is only one of a number of bodies from whose support they have justifiably benefitted. This is a quartet which deserves to flourish – and for more than just the passing moment of its avian namesake.

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