Bromsgrove Concerts promoted a really enterprising programme last weekend, one which deserved to attract a larger audience of chamber-music aficionados.
In the event, half of the evening proved a huge disappointment to at least one listener.
And there are considerations which the performers, the French-based Quatuor Diotima, really should take on board, for all the biting, effective articulation of their playing and the lovely rapport between the musicians, as revealed in Schubert’s early G minor String Quartet.
Do we really need to retune so frequently? Should we think about dress-code (the three blokes decidedly casual, the lady resplendent in off-the-shoulder evening wear)?
And would a tad more rapport with the audience, making things look less of a chore, help our advocacy of obscure music, as in the C minor Quartet of the Anglo-French Georges Onslow (his thirtieth, no less, with more to come), which for all its historical curiousness spent a long time going nowhere?
Everything was forgiven, though, in the second half, with an absolutely riveting and well-engineered account of Steve Reich’s gripping Different Trains.
Sampled speech-sounds and a superimposed extra string quartet were well-mixed and balanced, and the live Diotima players performed with energy and momentum – music at last quickening their engagement of our attention.
Rating * * *