Every live concert is currently pouring out an extra portion of happiness. Simply because it happens. Festive post-corona magic continues to reliably capture audiences everywhere, at mass parties at Whitsun rock concerts as well as on Saturday in the Pierre Boulez Saal, where the Heath Quartet spoils a small circle of chosen ones with perfect pianissimo.
Illness-related failures show how fragile this magic is. This top formation from Great Britain, which was freshly formed last year after the departure of Oliver Heath, should appear twice in the current quartet week. Then the first soiree was canceled due to illness of the new primaria Marije Johnston. Natalie Klouda stepped in for the second concert. She has toured with The Heath in the past as a composer and chamber musician.
Its silver tone blends in beautifully with the overall sound in terms of color and dynamics. And also fits perfectly with the past-drunk program.
Henry Purcell was only twenty when he wrote his “Fantazias” for gamba consort, but these are late works: he was the last composer, in 1680, to deal with the polyphonic short form, which had long been considered obsolete.
Today his fantasies are often played as an encore because of their timelessness and final unity. The Heath Quartet, on the other hand, puts three of them at the beginning, with vibrato and no baroque slurs. Even the fairytale-like, delicately celebrated opening bar of the F major Fantasy changes the aura in the hall.
Benjamin Britten’s world farewell quartet op.94 from 1975 looks back on modernity, it is reminiscent of the second Viennese school. The ironic Scherzo movement is reminiscent of Shostakovich, in the Passacaglia finale Britten quotes himself. The Heath creates this climax transparently. The “solo” prayer, suffused with pauses, is enchanting, and the open ending is moving.
A break would not have been necessary afterwards. Because Jörg Widmann’s clarinet quintet follows directly from Britten, provocatively it is apparently the oldest piece of music of the evening
The work of 2017 confidently celebrates the triumph of the open endings. Jörg Widmann himself, as primus inter pares, unleashes a paradisiacal stream of sweet lament melodies on his clarinet. The quartet accompanies. Every breath a poem. Even noise deposits cannot disturb the romantic intoxication of sound, only two sharp bow blows through the air end the memorable concert.