Schubert – String quartet no 12, D 703, Quartettsatz
Mozart – Quintet in A, K 581
Beethoven – String quartet no 13, Op 130
Presented by the Sydney Mozart Society, the Flinders Quartet were back in town celebrating their 20th year of making magical music. There was a good turnout at the Concourse, Chatswood with members of the Society and long standing fans of the Quartet.
The Quartet makes the most of their brand astutely expanding into areas beyond the concert series. Along with commissioning new chamber works from Australian composers each year, they regularly mentor for the Austrian Youth Orchestra and Victorian Amateur Chamber Music Society. Last year they were resident artists at Footscray City College and annually they run their outstanding Composer Development Program. This is where the composers of selected works are invited to workshop with the Quartet along with a composer mentor to create a concert-ready chamber work. Many composers have spoken about what a wonderful opportunity it is to finally hear works they have created – often just at home on their computers – in the concert hall with life breathed into the notes by this superb quartet. It’s great exposure for a new composer and a clever way for the quartet to build publicity for all involved.
For this concert the Quartet opened with Schubert’s “Quartettsatz”, a single movement of an incomplete string quartet. It stands well on its own and was performed with delicacy and grace. Following was a very popular piece to match the Society’s agenda, Mozart’s wonderful Quintet for clarinet, two violins, viola and cello.
For this work, the Quartet joined forces once again with Lloyd Van’t Hoff, a former winner of the ABC Symphony Australian Young Performer of the Year award. This musician is an absolute star. An impeccable player who flows effortlessly over the challenging parts and takes his time on the adagio sections. The Larghetto of this Quintet was simply heaven with Van’t Hoff using circular breathing to make notes that stretched on to infinity. The movement also featured a most civil conversation between lead violin Thibaud Pavlobic-Hobba and Van’t Hoff showing great empathy between players. The audience were captivated and gave generous applause at the close. No wonder cellist Zoe Knighton introduced Van’t Hoff as a “magician”. Outstanding work.
The second half of the concert featured Beethoven to celebrate his 250th birthday in alignment with the Quartet’s own 20th birthday. This is one of their favourites, Beethoven’s String quartet opus 130. A good meaty piece with six movements opening with an Adagio that needs bold musicians such as these to give it the due gravity and strength required. Both violins (including 2nd violin Wilma Smith) really stood their ground throughout the movement. The Presto is as ultra modern as it is trail blazing which, not surprisingly, disturbed audiences who first heard the premiere in 1826. The following Andante allowed the viola of Helen Ireland to express a beautiful femininity. The well known Cavatina takes immense concentration to not only pace it out, as if they have all the time in the world, whilst supporting enough energy within to keep it rolling along. Cellist Knighton added much expressiveness laying a great foundation on which the others could depend. The final Allegro was sparkling and clean. A lovely upbeat ending that thrilled the audience.
Flinders Quartet work so beautifully together making high class choices in their interpretations. This was an outstanding concert. It’s definitely worth grabbing a ticket well ahead of time for their next visit to Sydney in August at the Independent Theatre.
Find out more…
Sydney Mozart Society website: https://www.sydneymozartsociety.com.au/
Flinders Quartet website: https://www.flindersquartet.com/concert-calendar
Performers: Thibaud Pavlovic-Hobba, Wilma Smith, Helen Ireland, Zoe Knighton, Lloyd Van’t Hoff