St. Lawrence concert at Stanford

The St. Lawrence String Quartet has been the Quartet in Residence at Stanford University for 20 years now. I have admired their performances, and their commitment to bring new music to the listening public. On Sunday, October 23rd, I attended their concert at which they performed:

  • The string Quartet OP. 76, number 2 by Joseph Haydn
  • A new work by Osvaldo Golijov
  • The String quartet in G-Major by Franz Schubert

The members of the quartet love to play Haydn’s music. And none is more enthusiastic than violinist Geoff Nuttal. And this passion for Haydn made its way to be felt in the wonderful interpretation of this first selection. Haydn used a series of repeated Fifths in the first movement, and this created a sense of unity for the sprightly first movement. Each of the four instruments had ample opportunity to play their series of solos in this so-called “Quinten” quartet.

The second movement is an elegant Andante, and it was very tastefully and musically performed, particularly when the melody returned again.

The third movement is a typical Haydn Minuett, and for my taste the playing here was a bit too rough. Yea… I know this represents country folks playing their native Laendler dances, but my ears seemed to ask for greater playing refinement here.

The final movement, Finale, was again an opportunity for Mr. Nuttal to shine, and to drive this work to an exuberant conclusion.

The new work by Golijov was interesting and it contained several enjoyable sections. the 2-movement piece had a lyrical line that unfolds with support of  either pulsating rhythms, or other effects by the supportive instruments. the second movement was lush and warm. Perhaps Mr. Golijov may add a concluding movement some day??

The program ended with a wonderful reading of the Schubert String Quartet #15  in G-Major. there ws excellent balance between instruments, and I particularly enjoyed the role of the solo Cello in the second movement.

The audience responded with well deserved applause for the performing musicians.

Here is a video of the St. Lawrence Quartet performing Haydn


Tags:  St. Lawrence String Quartet, concert, Stanford University, review, October 23 2011


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