The acclaimed Takács Quartet delivered a performance of signature virtuosity at The Harold Lobb Hall at Newcastle Conservatorium of Music on Saturday, August 26.
Touring nationally for Musica Viva from August 10-28, this was the much loved quartet’s eighth visit down under.
Performing classics by Haydn (String Quartet in F major, op 77 no 2) and Beethoven (String Quartet no 12, op 127), bookending a specially commissioned piece by Australian composer and Musica Viva Artistic Director Car Vine (Quartet no 6 ‘Child’s Play’), Takács lived up to their reputation for musical ‘telepathy’ from the first note.
All quartet music demands teamwork but Haydn’s Op 77 raises the bar on so many levels and provided the perfect vehicle for these seasoned performers to display their varied brilliance united as one in a piece of vast complexity.
Founded in 1975 by four Hungarian musicians, two of whom are still with the group – second violinist Károly Schranz and cellist András Fejér – Takács is completed by American violist Geraldine Walther who joined 11 years ago and British leader Edward Dusinberre who has notched up 24 years.
So important to each other are they professionally and personally, each is the beneficiary of each other’s life insurance.
They have won virtually every major quartet award the world can bestow, and then some, and are revered for the energy, precision and depth with which they approach their repetoires.
Performing upwards of 80 shows a year at all the great music halls of the world, they are based at the University of Colorado in Boulder.
The group have a relationship with Vine stretching back 13 years when they performed his fourth quartet.
Since then, every time they have toured Australia, they have asked to play one of his pieces.
Vine’s sixth quartet “Child’s Play” was commissioned with the support of recently retired Musica Viva Chairman Michael Katz and his wife Frédérique Katz, The Seattle Commissioning Club, who are long-time friends of the Quartet, and Carnegie Hall, where the group is a frequent visitor and where a future performance of the piece is already scheduled.
Op 127 is the first of Beethoven’s late quartets and it’s fair to say Dusinberre is all over it, having written a book on Beethoven in 2016 and garnered a swag of awards.
Rivaling Haydn’s Op 77 in complexity and vision, it provided a suitably mesmerising second half to an unbelievable show, highlighting yet again the great performers and music Musica Viva brings to Newcastle each year.
And it’s set to continue, with Vine announcing the line-up for the 2018 Music Viva International touring concert series before Saturday night’s show commenced.
Writes Carl Vine:
Musica Viva’s 2018 International Concert Season glitters with dazzling talent and unexpected gems.
Superstars of the Baroque, Tafelmusik, deliver an incredible theatrical expedition in Bach and His World, legendary German clarinettist Sabine Meyer makes a surprising appearance in the company of the remarkable Alliage Quintett for a program of orchestral favourites especially arranged for this unusual ensemble. A leading virtuoso fêted the world over, violinist Ray Chen undertakes his second national tour for Musica Viva with pianist Julien Quentin.
Electrifying wizard of the mandolin Avi Avital joins the energetic young Giocoso String Quartet to present masterworks old and new. For more than 70 years the unparalleled Borodin Quartet has encapsulated generations of Russian string-playing tradition; it once more brings its trademark musical depth and perfection to our concert halls.
Joyce Yang, Silver Medallist in the 12th Van Cliburn International Piano Competition, offers two powerhouse programs of scintillating piano music, and the Benedetti Elschenbroich Grynyuk Trio perform sparkling programs that combine the trios of Brahms and Ravel with solo sonatas by Strauss and Prokofiev.
Australian composition figures strongly through the season, with new works commissioned from Elena Kats-Chernin, Elizabeth Younan and Matthew Hindson, and repeat performances of Gordon Kerry’s atmospheric Im Winde piano trio.
Legendary musician Sir András Schiff will perform two special Gala Concerts. This grand master of the piano performs just one time each in Sydney and Melbourne, in a wonderful opportunity for Australian audiences.
For more information visit musicaviva.com.au.