Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Beloved Beethoven

Flinders Quartet present BELOVED BEETHOVEN at the Verbrugghen Hall, Sydney Conservatorium.

The Flinders Quartet from Melbourne consist of Erica Kennedy (violin), Matthew Tomkins ( violin), Helen Ireland (viola), Zoe Knighton (cello). The program, BELOVED BEETHOVEN, was an all Beethoven immersion.

To open each half of the program, the Quartet had commissioned from Calvin Bowman two arrangements of movements from Beethoven’s Piano Sonatas. Piano sonata in A, op.2 no. 2:Largo appassionata and Piano sonata in G, op.79: Andante. Both works were charming and brief, excellently played. The last of the two particularly exquisite. Apparently there is precedent for this piano sonata appropriation to the String quartet, even by Beethoven himself.

The first half of the concert featured String quartet in G, op. 18 no.2. The second half was dominated by String quartet in F, op.59 no.1 (Razumovsky). The Radzumovsky was ,for me , the most arresting of the scores and experience.

The Flinders Quartet played with devoted concentration and with musical passion and, maybe, just a little too much zealotry. Sometimes the playing arrived a little ‘dry’ or pedantically academic. I would love for the performers to invest a little more personality into the playing, both as individuals and as a group. The experience placed me, a relatively ignorant music goer, in an objective state of appreciation of the skill of the works and playing, without any real seduction into the subjective state of feeling. I had an education rather than an enlightenment. The music of the spheres was not always within grasp. The thrill of the note organisation not apparent. Certainly an all Beethoven program content needed something more to arrest and captivate my attention.

The Quartet gave generously and the audience responded well to the concert. Thanks. Music can soothe the savage breast/beast.

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