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Review: Evening of richly rewarding listening

Updated: Jul 1, 2020

Stephen Fisher / Stuff (Palmerston North)

For its latest tour of the country, the New Zealand String Quartet has turned its attention to works that set new historical directions for chamber music genre, giving audiences a wide variety of music.

The quartet is based at Victoria University in Wellington and features Helene Pohl and Monique Lapins on violin, Gillian Ansell on viola and Rolf Gjelsten on cello and they have an excellent reputation.

Saturday night's concert featured Mozart's Dissonance Quartet, Webern's Langsamer Satz and Six Bagatelles, and the first of Beethoven's Razumovsky Quartets. Each is a landmark work on its own and together, while not providing the surprises today a historically contemporary audience would have experienced, the evening was, nevertheless, a fascinating insight into the literature of the string quartet, providing richly rewarding listening.

The arresting opening of the Dissonance Quartet quickly drew the audience into the evening, allowing time for us to revel in the uplifting atmosphere largely characteristic of the work.

Webern's works were each performed with such empathy towards the composer that the audience was swept through these new worlds with an admiring ear.

The major work of the evening, Beethoven's String Quartet no 7 in F, is a popular work in the genre, here given a magnificent reading.

With an enormous feeling of ensemble to the fore throughout the evening, this is a quartet that obviously enjoys playing with each other, conveying this great sense of commitment and love of their music to the audience.

Caccia Birch House, Palmerston North

Saturday 18 August 2018

 - Stephen Fisher, Stuff

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