St. Lawrence Quartet: Concert Review

Bing Concert Hall was just about filled to capacity on Sunday afternoon, January 17, 2016, as members of the SLSQ came on stage. They performed four compositions, and I enjoyed the concert completely. Here is the Program:

  • Joseph Haydn: string quartet Op. 20, number 2
  • Ralph Vaghan Williams: On Wemlock Edge, for Temor, piano and string quartet
  • Sergei Rachmaninov: Four songs for Tenor, piano, and Violin
  • Saint- Saens: String quartet number 1 in E- Minor

Paul Groves, Tenor, who sang in the second and third selections is a world-class singer, and so is pianist Laura Dahl. I apologize in advance: however, I want to concentrate my remarks on how much I enjoyed the Haydn.


It is said that Ludwig van Bethoven so admired the Op. 20 quartets that he devoted time to copy them, so he could learn first hand and clearly understand Haydn’s approach to composition.

I expected a conventional sounding quartet, and I was totally surprised by Haydn’s creative inventiveness. He gives the Cello a very prominent role in the first and second movements. The slow movement has several occasions where Haydn uses the music to achieve dramatic effects. The final movement features a neat Fugue, and the movement ends in an exciting flourish.

There is no doubt in my mind again, that it was “Papa Haydn” who created a huge impact on the development of all music that followed after Haydn died in 1809. Yes, Mozart had died earlier in 1791, but Beethoven lived to 1827, and all the other masters, such as Schubert were set to benefit from Haydn’s creative mastery.

Here is the SLSQ in Haydn’s string quartet Op. 77 number 1:


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