Australian String Quartet: Britten Paterson Beethoven – ASQ in Live performance

One sentence in this system neatly sums up Australia’s flagship string quartet: “Since 1985, the Australian String Quartet has created unforgettable string quartet performances for audiences world wide”. With violist Christopher Cartlidge and cellist Michael Dahlenburg becoming a member of Dale Barltrop and Francesca Hiew, a brand new ASQ line-up made its Melbourne debut, giving us a close to excellent expertise of the best colors and intimate musical particulars of a singular string quartet sound, made extra fascinating on their set of 18th Century hand-crafted Guadagnini devices and by premiering a brand new Australian composition. The information that following their nationwide and regional tour, ASQ is certain for London’s Royal Albert Corridor in September ’22, representing Australia at ANAM’s Quartetthaus competition, is an extra cause to rejoice music by Australia’s finest ensembles and composers.

First carried out in 1936 in Wigmore Corridor, a younger Benjamin Britten wrote in his diary that his Three Divertimenti for string quartet “acquired sniggers and chilly silence from the viewers”. With power, pleasure and fervour emanating from these 4 excellent ASQ gamers, Britten’s small character items got a contemporary and vibrant listening to. Vibrant chords opened the March, with fast quirky solo glissandos and fractured conversational snatches instantly adopted by picturesque marching sections displaying showy army bravado and youthful playfulness. Britten’s style for modernism shocked us along with his artistic construction as this Allegro Maestoso modified quickly from frantic and forceful statements to a stunning closing questioning solo glissando fragment. Contrasting legato violins over pizzicato cello help led the way in which into a lightweight and ethereal French Waltz till a richly toned, full bodied cello melody crammed the excellent acoustic house of the Elisabeth Murdoch Corridor with main questions and vibrant affect. Each element in adjustments of tempo, feeling and dynamics within the ensemble texture was intuitively balanced and portrayed. A closing Burlesque – Presto took us into a brand new rhythmic world of vibrant worrying, scurrying urgency, with driving pulses, an intense mixture of tone color and playful staccato results. A center part of percussive chords created a stressed, bristling power; higher glissando tones soared like capturing stars, at occasions exaggerated and tonally on the sting, bringing the piece to an abrupt ending. Not like the reception given to Britten in 1936, this viewers didn’t stay silent, with most applause welcoming ASQ’s detailed and refined efficiency.

Subsequent, ASQ took us to a brand new tonal world of string taking part in within the Melbourne premiere efficiency of David Paterson’s String Quartet No 1, the third work by this Melbourne composer to be commissioned by the ASQ. Its opening Allegro drew us into the realm of a vivacious fashion of English dance, with strings dancing helter-skelter in blended unison taking part in. Joyful moments of Spanish dance rhythms and tonal, balanced melodies led us to a breathless shut. It was the second motion Adagio Tranquillo that was an excellent supply of musical magic. Mutes and harmonics created an eerie, celestial, glassy sound. Utilizing bowed harmonics, musicians created a collection of floating chords with glistening, spacious melodies. They had been required to play calmly on the fingerboard, creating an ethereal and clear sound. Fairly exceptional had been the decision of stress and the creation of thriller, with a repeated pulse underpinning a excessive, quasi-religious chord, like a ghostly distant church organ in a distant heaven. This was fairly exceptional and fascinating music.

The third motion Toccata and Fugue opened with smooth notes and little creatures hurrying and scurrying round a myriad of gossamer threads, because the composer demanded elevated stress utilizing uncommon string settings and requested for brand spanking new tone color with directives for the music to be with out vibrato. The ultimate chapter Fugue & Finale explored repeated rhythms, touches of experimental quirkiness and mimicry, bringing in themes from the primary motion. An enthusiastic viewers welcomed Paterson to the stage to affix the ASQ in sharing the success of this premiere efficiency.

Beethoven’sString Quartet No 9 in C, Op 59 No 3, Razumovsky is a piece held in highest regard by string gamers and is a pinnacle of triumph and inspiration within the classical repertoire. Passionate introductory chords and suspenseful silences consumed our consideration, and new timbral colors, extremely concentrated technical virtuosity and Beethoven’s energy held us. Most admirable was the ASQ’s exact and refined teamwork, passionate timbres and split-second changes of steadiness between solo and ensemble accompaniment. The third motion, Menuetto Grazioso was given a extremely expressive shaping, with refined rubatos and pristine softness. There isn’t a higher option to finish one among Beethoven’s inspiring masterpieces, than with an unlimited crescendo, which closed the perpetuum cell of the Allegro Molto. Sensible string taking part in and stylish teamwork impressed us throughout the relentless tempo of this difficult finale.

With a stellar 37-year legacy, ASQ’s contemporary look is thrilling to listen to and see. Reward-worthy too is the quartet’s new and trendy live performance apparel, complementing the individuality and vibrant artistry of those performers. We wouldn’t be shocked if many different quartets observe their lead!

Photograph equipped.


Julie McErlain reviewed “Britten Paterson Beethoven – ASQ in Live performance” carried out by the Australian Sting Quartet on the Melbourne Recital Centre on April 26, 2022.


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