‘Beautiful’ Beethoven saves the day

The Australian String Quartet

Music / Australian String Quartet. At Gandel Corridor, NGA, November 20. Reviewed by GRAHAM McDONALD.

THE Adelaide-based Australian String Quartet has lengthy championed new Australian music which pushes the boundaries of latest artwork music.

Mixed with an ongoing ardour for Beethoven’s string quartets, this has led to some fascinating live shows over time. For this live performance they contrasted a brand new work from younger Australian composer Jack Symonds with certainly one of Beethoven’s final quartets, that in C sharp minor, Op.131, written the yr earlier than his loss of life in 1827.

The ASQ play a quartet of late 18th century devices by Italian maker Giovanni Batista Guadagnini, on mortgage from UKARIA, a philanthropic organisation that has raised the funds to purchase the 4 devices with the intention of getting them performed by an excellent Australian quartet.

This present tour has showcased the premier performances of Symonds’ String Quartet No.2, commissioned by the ASQ. It’s a complicated work, filled with dissonance and jerky rhythms, and to those ears not pleasing in any respect. Music, absolutely, ought to primarily be an pleasing expertise. Why else would you pay attention?

In distinction, the ensemble’s efficiency of the Beethoven quartet was beautiful. It’s 40-minutes lengthy, in seven actions and performed with barely a pause between the actions so it flows collectively right into a river of ever shifting sound. The steadiness between the devices was pleasant.

It must be famous that whereas the live performance ran for 2 hours, there was just one hour of music. At the very least half an hour was taken within the musicians (and composer) speaking about each works. Whereas a return to the outdated days of classical musicians strolling on to the stage, taking part in and leaving and not using a phrase spoken is actually not fascinating, an excessive amount of speaking might be nearly as distracting. The music ought to be capable to communicate for itself.