THE number of young string quartets appearing on our concert platforms seems to mushroom year by year, the result perhaps of the numerous chamber music competitions open to young players nearing the end of their conservatoire training, writes CLIVE WALKLEY.

One of the most recent to emerge is the Consone Quartet appearing at Lake District Summer Music for the first time as one of the groups chosen to give a Festival Debut Concert. This is a new venture for LDSM: in place of the summer academy of previous years, this year young artists at the beginning of their professional careers are being offered the opportunity to present a full-length programme, performing not as students but as professionals.

The Consone Quartet have won several prizes and have impressed all who have heard them. Their sound is somewhat different from the many other professional quartets on the concert circuit because they explore and recreate the sounds of classical and early romantic music by period instrument performance; their instruments are strung with gut strings and the cellist supports the weight of the cello without the aid of an end pin. Amongst other technicalities, they perform with a minimum of vibrato which results in chords which, when in tune, (as they were this morning) glisten.

The group’s debut concert at Windermere's Carver Church created a deep impression. The concert opened with one of Haydn’s opus 50 quartets which has earned the nickname ‘Dream’ because of its beautiful slow movement, often played alone in the nineteenth century. The hallmark of the quartet is comedy and there was a lovely humorous moment in the final movement when the quartet’s leader, Agata Daraskaite, used glissando technique for a passage marked by Haydn to be played on one string; given Haydn’s known sense of humour, he would probably have been greatly amused! The rest of the programme was interesting because it gave us a rare opportunity to hear teenage works by both Schubert and Mendelssohn, a timely reminder if one were needed of what geniuses these two men were.

The group’s interpretations of their chosen repertoire were intelligent and clearly thought out while ensemble playing was immaculate and the sound warm. This quartet is certainly one to watch out for in future years.