A multitude of short glissandi on strings can give the impression of continuity, and so can a multitude of pizzicati
. Passages from a discontinuous state to a continuous state are controllable with the aid of probability theory.
Gerhardt revealed plenty of intricate detail along this sad journey of introspection, aggressive pizzicati
railing against the music's sense of loss, and indeed intensifying emotional links with Elgar's Violin Concerto.
And as soloist Vassallo delivered a dignified characterisation of the deluded knight, noble in his orotund utterances, witty in questing pizzicati
, and always with a touching vulnerability.
Apt illustrations came from the Pavao String Quartet, smoothly dovetailed into the narrative, and then we heard a complete performance of this tremendous piece, wellbalanced, well-judged, the ensemble so at ease with each other that individual lines - viola richness, earthy pizzicati
from the second violin - could emerge without disrupting the homogeneity.
A totally different soundworld followed in Dvorak's achingly beautiful 'Serenade for Strings', luminous, iridescent and subtly nuanced; lovely cello solos and delicate bass pizzicati
"My wife plays viola in the Coull String Quartet, and string quartet seemed an excellent medium to combine with table tennis as they both share things in common, like the way the bow bounces on the string, or percussive effects like left-hand pizzicati
, which are not so dissimilar from the sounds made during a table tennis match.
The Britten was the Prelude and Fugue for 18-part String Orchestra, resonant with the composer's hallmarks, and equally resonant in its underpinning pizzicati
at the beginning and end, sturdily delivered by the gifted young members of the Presteigne Festival Orchestra under Vass's efficient direction.
In his reading of the composer's searing Ninth Symphony, patiently assembled like a medieval cathedral-builder, he dispelled all whiffs of the organ-loft with its creaky changes of registration, allowing instead all Bruckner's orchestral colourings to make their point - and in this fabulous acoustic the pizzicati
of the pounding scherzo had an amazing presence.
Recording quality is close, so close that the listener can almost feel the probing lower strings' pizzicati
and throbbing harp chords as they launch this eloquent, passionate music.
There was, however, a nice little scherzo with pinging vocal pizzicati
from the performers.
Played with unanimity and startling energy, and touched-up with shivers of ponticello and snapping pizzicati
, they emerged as four vivid, Breughel-like landscapes.
were often aggressive rather than enticing, but there was some sweet tone in the leader's highest reaches.