ASQ IN CONCERT: BARTOK, MENDELSSOHN, FISHCER ★★★★½
Australian String Quartet, Melbourne Recital Centre, June 30
Whereas COVID-19 continues to curse many Australian cities with a pressure of cancel tradition, Melbourne has been blessed with superb, world-class music making from the Australian String Quartet. Disappointingly, this rescheduled live performance couldn’t function the beforehand marketed collaboration with recorder virtuoso Genevieve Lacey, however the ASQ greater than held its personal in a wealthy, three-course musical providing.
Bartok’s ground-breaking String Quartet No. 3 is hardly essentially the most digestible musical appetiser, with jagged, rhythmic shards punctuating a bleak harmonic panorama. Nonetheless, the ASQ’s collective intelligence made sense of the brief, dense rating. The heat of its silver-toned Guadagnini devices ensured particular results fulfilled their expressive function, and that lyrical parts have been coaxed to the floor. Razor-sharp ensemble and expressive taking part in, notably from newly appointed cellist Michael Dahlenburg, impressed.
Like an achieved suitor, Mendelssohn’s String Quartet No. 1 initially charms with fashion and charm, earlier than revealing a extra amorous agenda. The peerlessly formed phrases of the opening prompt a long-established union of minds and hearts, additional confirmed within the witty Canzonetta. Chief Dale Barltrop revelled within the bravura alternatives of the final two actions, eliciting expansive heat and fervour from his colleagues.
Though Czech composer Pavel Fischer’s third string quartet Mad Piper relies on the story of Invoice Millin, a Scottish piper musically rallying his troops on the Normandy seaside on the D-Day touchdown in World Battle II, its thematic materials is extra evocative of the composer’s Moravian homeland. Within the midst of this rambunctious piece got here a heartfelt viola soliloquy, eloquently delivered by outgoing violist Stephen King. The country finale was a joyous, unconstrained tribute to folks fiddlers all over the place.
Regardless of an 18-month absence from Melbourne and modifications to its membership, the ASQ undoubtedly stays a robust, persuasive voice in Australian chamber music.