Vine: String Quartets – review

Vine: String Quartets – review, Aug 1, 2013

Carl Vine's five string quartets bracket 30 years of his creative career – the First, otherwise known as the Knips Suite, was first performed at the Edinburgh festival in 1979 as a ballet score, while the Fifth was composed for the Goldner Quartet in 2007. The Second to the Fifth are included here, together with two short movements from the First; heard in sequence in such fabulously assured performances – the Goldner really is one of the finest string quartets around today – they seem a substantial achievement, even if they do not break any radically new ground musically or texturally. All of them are single‑movement works that fall into a number of distinct sections and trace a trajectory that moves from introspection to extroversion, darkness to light, stasis to unbuttoned exuberance. But it's the different routes those journeys take that give the quartets their distinctive characters, and the sureness and confidence with which those plans are achieved that seems so impressive.

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