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Lunch break concert,
Edinburgh Quartet

Written by Alan Cooper

reproduced with permission


Lunch break concert, Edinburgh Quartet

The Edinburgh Quartet have built and maintained a strong following in Aberdeen so despite a dull wet day, the Cowdray Hall was filled to near capacity for their Lunch Break Concert on Thursday. It began with a piece by a composer from their home ground, String Quartet No.2 Op.8 by Robert Crawford. Born near Edinburgh in 1925, Robert Crawford was a pupil of Hans Gal another composer whose work is in the repertoire of the Edinburgh Quartet. Between 1970 and 1985, Crawford was a music producer with BBC Scotland. His two Quartets have remained part of the regular repertoire since they were composed.

In the first two movements the music is sturdily constructed on clear cut contrapuntal lines. Both contain intriguing rhythmic brushstrokes which punctuate the contrapuntal argument from time to time then, in the finale it is this rhythmic impulse that comes to the surface. Bow strokes and finally pizzicato underline the strength of the rhythm with first violin, viola but especially cello shining through with moments of glossy melody. The Edinburgh Quartet gave a splendidly clear and intensely driven performance of this Quartet making it quite clear why it has remained popular over the years.

Anton Webern's Six Bagatelles (1913) have been described as finely cut diamonds, a perfect description of their precision and transparency. The Edinburgh Quartet gave these miniatures a wonderfully delicate performance making every one of their numerous details (and despite the brevity of the pieces they contain many) stand out with dazzling clarity.

The "Ultimo Quartetto" Op.103 is Joseph Haydn's final essay in the medium which he did so much to establish as one of the cornerstones of Western Music. The two movements which we have are really the second and third movements of what could have been a much larger work and if as some musicologists think, the music composed after these fragments was the work of pupils, this music may well be the final utterance of one of the world's greatest composers. Haydn's correspondence suggests that he had begun to suffer from some sort of mental exhaustion but there is no evidence from these two movements of any flagging in the composer's imaginative powers. The Andante gracioso is full of warm melodic charm while the Menuetto certainly does not lack energy. In the hands of the Edinburgh Quartet it made a fine rich sounding if sudden conclusion to a splendid concert that will only have confirmed the ensemble's reputation with their Aberdeen audience.

Original article reproduced here with kind permission.

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6Thu12.45 pmAberdeenEdinburgh Quartet