MU­SIC re­view

The Courier & Advertiser (Perth and Perthshire Edition) - - LOCAL NEWS -

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...

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