The Huddersfield Daily Examiner, January 25 2012
Music: Musicians who are simply the business
TITLE: Atrium String Quartet
VENUE: St Paul’s Hall, Huddersfield
“TIME-scale, type of discourse, density of information, continuity, content, manner, process.
“The elements of music are treated so variously by composers that listeners need to be able to adopt several different modes of reception”.
Thus said Richard Steinitz in his recently published history of the Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival. How apt for this concert, where the thematic and harmonic material of Haydn, Shostakovich and Beethoven was similar, but the different ways the composers used it were magnificently delineated by the Atrium String Quartet. These players had clear and muscular tone in perfect balance, they responded to each others’ subtleties and displayed the highest degree of musical intelligence. They are the business, it doesn’t come better than this.
The concert was a BBC Radio Three live broadcast, which is a badge of quality declaring performers, venue and promoting body as the best of the best. It is good to see Huddersfield Music Society recognised in this way. Poignant that it should come the same day as the funeral of Marjorie Glendinning, who did so much over so many years to establish the Music Society’s reputation.
No need to record here much detail of the Atrium’s playing – everything they did was perfect. So astonishing are their multi-layered abilities that they added Beethovenian intensity to Haydn’s Op. 33 No. 1 Quartet, graced Beethoven’s obvious joy at his own dazzling mastery in his Op. 18 No. 1 Quartet with civilising Haydnesque sensibility, and made Shostakovich’s Quartet No. 11 a moving experience beyond my powers of description.