BEETHOVEN WAS irritated that an early string quartets overshadowed his later, greater works, writes Garry Fraser.
That was exactly the scenario at Wednesday night’s concert by the Michelangelo Quartet, the first in a cycle of the great man’s quartets.
The opening opus 135, the last of his works in this genre, didn’t have the same impact as the C minor opus 18 and certainly did not have the hypnotic effect that this, and the other late quartets, usually has on me.
However, it was by no means a poor performance, although I did detect a slight intonation problem in the Vivace.
The opening allegretto was light and airy and the quartet – Mihaela Martin, Daniel Austrich, Nobuko Imai and Frans Helmerson – successfully accomplished the whimsical nature of the quartet’s f inal moments.
The C minor quartet seemed as if the ensemble had at last warmed up, and they proved themselves to be a fitting inclusion to the Perth Concert Hall’s programme of events.
This was excellent, with the Michelangelo bringing over the wonderful fugal counterpoint of the second m ove m e n t and showing tightness personif ied throughout what was a top class performance.
Then they turned the excellence up a notch or two with the F major Opus 59, the first of the Razumovsky quartets. This is a more expansive quartet, and thus gives more scope for Beethoven’s restless inventiveness.
This was the composer at his best and the quartet at theirs.
There was pin-point precision throughout the performance but, if anything needs highlighting, it was the beautifully controlled and seamless merge from the soulful and melancholic adagio into the final allegro.
Getting a world class ensemble to perform all the Beethoven quartets in one season was a highly c o m m e n d a bl e e ff o r t on the part of the hall’s artistic director David Watters.
Such a coup deserves a far better audience than the number in attendance on Wednesday night.
Robin Webster, secretary of St John Perth and Kinross, presented a cheque for £1,095.69 for Rachel House, Kinross, to Rachel Cheer of the Children’s Hospice Association Scotland. The money was collected over the summer from volunteer pipers in support...