Stanford Seminar!

Stanford Chamber Music Seminar!

The St. Lawrence String Quartet held its annual seminar for quartets this month. And I attended the first half of the concert on Saturday night, July 3rd, 2010.

SIX quartet groups were on the program, each performing a major quartet from the rich chamber music repertoire.
• The Arneis Quartet performed the Beethoven quartet #11
• The Aeolus quartet performed the Mendelssohn quartet #2
• The Rusquartet performed the Prokofiev quartet #2
Here are my observations from the concert’s first half of the concert:

I liked the Rusquartet best, because their players were well-matched in expertise, participation, balance of sound, and tone quality. This group achieved a wonderful quality in giving the Prokofiev a rustic, Folk-like feeling. Both violin players were excellent, and the Cello player was able to bring forward his important solo. Nice job! Great ensemble feeling, and the performers seemed to have fun, as well.

The Arneis Quartet showed strong experience with the Beethoven Op. 95. However, the two violin players were stronger than the Viola and the Cello. This resulted in a loss of balance in the performance. At times, this group was simply too loud for the small hall in which the concert was held; it was a challenge for them to achieve true pianissimos, and this resulted in a loss of intimacy to a certain degree.

The Aeolus Quartet was somewhat less effective in their performance of the Mendelssohn. There was rather little eye contact between players. Particularly the first violinist was constantly just looking at her music, rather than using her eyes to provide group leadership. While the performance was OK, the players seemed somewhat less confident than members of the other quartet groups.

Here is the Aeolus quartet performing Bartok’s Quartet No. 5 – finale

Here’s the Rusquartet playing Haydn’s Op. 76

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