Sunday, May 26, 2024

A becoming chamber music finale to a different nice season in Plymouth – Seen and Heard Worldwide

United KingdomUnited Kingdom Mozart, Bartók, Brahms: Kleio Quartet (Yume Fujise, Katherine Yoon [violins], Jenny Lewisohn [viola] and Eliza Millett [cello]), Robert Taub (piano). Levinsky Corridor, College of Plymouth 2.3.2024. (PRB)

Yume Fujise, Katherine Yoon (violins), Jenny Lewisohn (viola) and pianist Robert Taub © Philip R Buttall

Mozart – String Quartet No.14 in G main Ok.387
Bartók – String Quartet No.4
Brahms – Piano Quintet in F minor Op.34

It appears exhausting to consider that it has solely been 5 years in the past, virtually to the day, that the Arts Institute on the College of Plymouth established the Musica Viva live performance collection: the London Mozart Gamers performed within the Minster Church of St Andrew. However not solely has the Institute’s Director of Music, American concert-pianist and educational Dr Robert Taub, continued to deliver high worldwide expertise to town, and performed piano on the majority of recitals. In 2022, he has single-handedly engineered the transfer from an erstwhile Lecture Corridor to a totally functioning venue now often called Levinsky Corridor.

What higher means, then, to conclude the 2023/2024 season than with an excellent programme of chamber music, at which, true to type, Robert Taub joined the Kleio Quartet for an epic rendition of Brahms’s Piano Quintet. The night began, as is now the anticipated norm, with a pre-concert speak in regards to the programme and different associated subjects, hosted by Taub and the quartet’s cellist Eliza Millett.

Mozart’s String Quartet in G Ok.387 from 1782 is the primary in a set of six quartets the composer devoted to Joseph Haydn. It’s the fourteenth of Mozart’s twenty-three quartets. Quartet gamers and Mozart aficionados little question discover that the work has a lot to commend it. It did tick all of the containers for me, made all the precise sounds and, most necessary, confirmed the stage which Mozart had reached in his ongoing growth of the style. It could not be the quartet to tackle my Desert Island sojourn, however the work’s nickname is ‘Spring’, so it appears to have been an apt selection for at this time.

The Kleio Quartet did a superb job, they imbued Mozart’s writing with energy and vitality, beautifully customary dynamics and mannequin articulation. Nowhere was this extra obvious than within the second motion. On paper, it’s a conventional Classical Menuetto, however the deliciously cheeky means they delivered the composer’s dynamics early on was excellent. Mozart requires the instrumentalists to play notes in a measured chromatic scale, alternating piano and forte, to provide a noticeable two-against-three impact.

Whereas this Haydn quartet was devoted to Mozart’s ever-jovial predecessor of some twenty years earlier, this was, in reality, an actual nod within the route of Beethoven, who was then solely twelve-years-old. The Kleio Quartet have been daring sufficient to take the bull by the horns. They teased the considerably weird dynamics to perfection, little question absolutely conscious that Mozart undoubtedly had his personal enjoyable facet too, not at all times highlighted.

The Kleio Quartet then moved ahead in time to the completely completely different soundworld of 1928. Bartók’s Fourth String Quartet should have been a distinctly difficult work each for gamers and viewers, who wouldn’t have been conscious, as we’re, of the advances in modern music over the next hundred years.

The pre-concert speak got here in helpful. Eliza Millett made reference to a few of the results the viewers could be handled to on this five-movement work of some twenty-three minutes. It was, for instance, most enlightening to listen to that the center of the gradual motion is the primary instance of ‘Night time Music’ in in Bartók’s quartets. This function of his distinctive and atmospheric model can also be heard within the Third Piano Concerto.

Each facet of the efficiency was gripping from the very first notice. The well-studied studying additionally went a good distance towards elucidating a few of the extra demanding moments within the writing. It was rewarding to see every participant completely dedicated to the general efficiency, not solely by way of a faultless ensemble, however in how every instrument was a part of the larger image. There was a number of welcome interplay. Visually, it appeared that the focus gave the impression to be second violinist Katherine Yoon, although the violin steadiness was not affected.

An apart, earlier than I proceed. Mozart’s quartet consists of 4 distinct actions. In his time, it was customary to speak, stamp one’s toes, transfer about throughout performances and clap between actions, particularly if one thing was considerably worthy of audible reward. However within the final hundred years or so it has grow to be extra a matter of etiquette. The overall tendency has been to avoid wasting up all of the applause for the tip of the work. At this time, some members of the viewers tended to clap at each pause longer than just a few seconds. That considerably broke up the continuity of the music, and probably momentarily compromised the gamers’ powers of focus. In Mozart’s work, it was solely mildly annoying, however in Bartók’s quartet it considerably spoiled my general enjoyment, since ends of actions should not clearly outlined. Cell phones should not such an issue: one can, no less than, change them off.

Piano and strings mixed admirably in Brahms’s Piano Quintet for this season’s grand finale. The composer had first solid it as a string quintet with two cellos, which bolsters the tenor and bass areas of the feel. He was not fairly glad, so he organized it as a substitute for 2 pianos. No absolutely joyful once more, he determined to match the preliminary energy of the string quartet with the sonority and percussiveness of an iron-framed live performance grand piano. On this scoring, the piece has remained ever since.

Given the Kleio Quartet’s full-blooded sound when required, it appeared the precise choice to open the piano lid fully, somewhat than use the so-called chamber-music ‘half prop’. That ensured glorious steadiness between strings and piano. Within the opening motion, each forces are very evenly paired, however elsewhere the composer offers full rein to every protagonist individually and together. Robert Taub and the Kleio Quartet gave us some completely breath-taking climaxes and full, wealthy sonorities.

Even right here, although, the claque (which I had not observed at earlier on-campus occasions) appeared to attempt their finest to clap every time they might. It didn’t assist that Taub stretched out his proper arm and was clearly asking for no disruptive applause at sure factors of repose.

By the use of conclusion, it occurred to me that we had been listening to music written by an Austrian, a Hungarian and a German, performed by performers of Japanese, South Korean, British/Danish, British and American descent – who clearly bought on like a home on fireplace as they made great music collectively. If solely this might occur simply as readily in on a regular basis life at this time.

Philip R Buttall

Featured Picture: Kleio Quartet (Yume Fujise, Katherine Yoon [violins], Jenny Lewisohn [viola] and Eliza Millett [cello]).

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