The Chipperfield Quartet
Those who spent Friday evening 27 June in the Two Brewers, without troubling to walk the few extra steps round to the Village Hall, missed a real treat. Perhaps they were put off by the mention of a string quartet. They should not have been. This was a full-blooded presentation of music, mostly arranged for quartet, which ranged from the thrilling scale passages of Vivaldi to a pretty fair rendition of Paul McCartneys “When Im Sixty Four”. And much more in between. If this was not enough, the show was given by four gorgeous girls, all professional string players who had offered their services in aid of the St Pauls Organ Fund. In the words of the song, “who could ask for more?”
The show got off to a cracking start with Vivaldis familiar concerto for two violins, played by Natalia Bonner (who led the quartet) and Caroline Bishop, ably and energetically accompanied by orchestra and continuo consisting of the sisters Naomi (viola) and Laura (cello) Fairhurst. The pace lessened for the next group of arrangements, which included an original setting of the English folksongs Greensleeves and Scarborough Fair. After Makin Whoopee, Anything Goes and the meditation from Thais, the first half concluded with Summer from the Four Seasons. The second half opened with another familiar favourite, Mozarts early Divertimento in D, in which the andante in particular allowed the musicians to show a different and intimate side to quartet playing. This was followed again by a selection of “popular” pieces including Pachelbels Canon, apparently much favoured by brides making their way up the aisle. According to Grove, he wrote many other pieces as well, a fact that might with advantage be pointed out to those contemplating nuptials. But for this reviewer, the highlight was a hitherto unknown Tango by C Gardel, reminiscent of Astle Piazzola, and played with all the same gusto. We would like to know more of C Gardel.
In the course of the evening the quartet showed that it could syncopate, swing and rock with the best of them, as well as interpreting the classics with stylish and thoughtful playing. This was a brilliant evening and seemingly a first for the Village, which has perhaps suffered unfair comparison with the musical elite of Sarratt. It should certainly be repeated, regularly, if the quartet can be persuaded to take time off their obviously busy playing and recording schedules. We wonder if, in future, it will be thought necessary to amplify the quartet. This may be a reflection of modern commercial practice. But it would be regarded as wholly unnecessary in the Wigmore Hall and it may be the same goes for the Chipperfield Village Hall.