Australian String Quartet


Australia’s showcase quartet has a new line-up. Fresh talent Ioana  Tache (violin) and Sharon Draper (cello) join veterans Kristian Winther (violin) and Stephen King (viola) in a one-off concert for Musica Viva Tasmania of Haydn, Beethoven and Bartok at Hobart’s Town Hall on Saturday August 9 at 8pm.

In Haydn’s String Quartet Op 77 No 1 we see the master of the form he practically invented, here in his final years still moving forward, learning, adapting, refining. Extended sonata form, one of Haydn’s great Adagios, an anticipation of the Scherzo and his last gypsy dance combine in a consummate distillation of form and content.

Beethoven himself dubbed his Op 95 ‘Quartett serioso’. Written immediately after Egmont, the quartet shares that work’s tone of tragic grandeur. The last of his second ‘brace’ of quartets where the composer explored an extended symphonic style, No 11 harks back to his more formal early essays in the form while also looking forward in expression to the experimental late works.

Bartok’s six string quartets comprise a significant and radical landmark in 20th century music. The fifth, perhaps the most ambitious of the set, employs the composer’s ‘arch’ form with a pattern of movements radiating out from a central scherzo. Earthy Bulgarian dance rhythms contrast with hymn-like modal serenity all bound together by outer movements of great tension.

Haydn, String Quartet in G major, op. 77 no. 1
Beethoven, String Quartet op. 95 Serioso
Bartok, String Quartet no. 5