Above : Acacia Quartet -Lisa Stewart, Myee Clohessy, Stefan Duwe and Anna Marrin-Scrase.
Titled ‘The American’, this concert by Acacia Quartet explored exciting elements of newness across three quite different works. All quartets and not just the final effervescent ‘American’ Quartet from Dvorák written in the ‘New World’ of America reflected deep reaction to the physical or emotional environment, with Acacia’s signature precise and fresh ensemble playing delighting the audience.
The concert began with Mozart’s String Quartet No 15 in D minor. This work from the set of ‘Haydn’ quartets explores the newness being forged in the genre by Haydn using all instruments equally.
This opening work displayed Mozart’s fine sense of drama alongside Acacia‘s fine synergy, solid as a rock intonation and communication through their intricately nuanced ensemble voice.
Particularly enjoyable were the cello and viola timbres emerging eloquently from the texture and eighteenth-century blend with important motifs.
Haydnesque rhythmic ingenuity were a feature of Mozart’s third movement. Violinist Lisa Stewart led the group here with wonderfully charismatic freedoms in the melodic delivery.
More than a quartet of ‘bravas’ go to violinist Myee Clohessy for her excellent introductions to the works in the absence of a printed programme. Her interesting, enticing illustrations possessed the same clarity and passion as her playing.
I also found the retro chance to follow the music and artists without glancing at a paper programme gave a refreshing new focus to my concert experience.
Continuing the newness and consummate innovation was a performance of Alice Chance’s lush, modern new work ‘Sundried Quartet’. Chance’s highly appropriate string scoring was bursting with her interesting trademark approach to lyricism and pictorial stimuli in this commission for Acacia Quartet.
This work is beautifully suited to strings, and the newness of their use to depict heat, the beach, gardening or warm contentment was joyously devoured via modern effects. A composer with much choral music already in her oeuvre, Chance has easily turned her talents to chamber music, creating a significant quartet for our time and for Acacia to so earnestly promote during its first summer with us.
Murmurs amongst the crowd suggested Chance’s quartet to be an instant favourite. A recording of this sophisticated and very Australian composition celebrating everyday environments, personal joy would no doubt be popular.
Above: Alice Chance, composer of ‘Sundried Quartet’, commissioned for Acacia Quartet to perform.
Acacia made sure Dvorák’s ‘American’ Quartet was consistently beautiully blended. The American musics and idioms bounced above, through and inimitably along the textural frameworks.
The performance if the second movement was so well measured it was edge-of the seat beauty. Acacia’s playing and the composer’s fusion of New-World material with his musical background was a great combination. It promoted all the innocence, opportunity and happiness Dvorak was experiencing and wishing to share in a calm and beautifully creative way.
Likewise, the sharing of innovation and newness of creative concerns with their audience made this Acacia concert and Independent Theatre ‘Prelude in Tea’ event quite an exciting and beautiful one. The audience left having been shown that accomplished chamber music reaches a place of calm and a place in our hearts after journeying through a myriad of shapes and colour.