Millions of people across the country are feeling the after- glow of the classic 100 Swoon music that made their world stand still.
A daily ‘Swoon’ has been featured on the ABC Classic FM’s radio Breakfast show for twenty years and listeners were invited to vote for their favourite Swoon.
The result of the survey ended in a weekend of sublime music and a deluxe edition of CD’s of highlights from Australian’s favourite musical Swoons.
Still in the blissful state and wonder of musical ecstasy I was swooning once again as the Goldner String Quartet performed for the first time at A Little Lunch Music in the City Recital Hall Sydney. This distinctive concert celebrated the Quartet’s impeccable techniques, impassioned musical compositions and the member’s own intellectual, aesthetic and personal connections with each other.
They thoroughly charmed the audience by their poised, serene, evocative playing and the virtuosity of their performances.
The Goldner String Quartet is marking an incredible milestone in 2015, their 20th Anniversary.
Dene Olding introduced the program expressing the Quartet’s desire to share a ‘tasting menu’ of six of the brightest jewels from the Quartet’s repertoire Mendelssohn, Rachmaninov, Turina, Puccini, Borodin and Dvorak.
Mendelssohn was only eighteen years of age when he composed Quartet No. 2 in A minor, Op.13 in 1827.
This music is deeply romantic and considered one of his most passionate works. Also it is one of the earliest examples of cyclic form in music.
“Cyclic form is a technique of musical construction, involving multiple sections or movements, in which a theme, melody, or thematic material occurs in more than one movement as a unifying device.”
The Quartet only played the First Movement and a motif was heard in the opening Adagio. However this motif is repeated in all four movements.
The beautiful slow beginning moved into lighter phrases underpinned by the pulse of the cello building an intense cohesion and an enthralling resonance.
An exquisite yearning for love plagued by reproach and self- doubt merged in the light and shade of the quivering shadows cast by the composition and the musician’s recital.
Then Rachmaninov’s Quartet No. 1: Romance began lyrically and vibrated with the richness of the cello splendidly played by Julian Smiles.
The energy generated between the musicians produced a scale of emotional clarity that was rousing.
Each note was played with fervour and grace so that the audience felt the wistful and colourful variations of the long languid lines of love.
Next Turina’s 1925 composition La oracion del torero (The Bullfighter’s Prayer) was inspired by the poignancy of the moment when the bullfighter prayed in the chapel prior to the bullfight.
It began quietly and stoically with a hint of the pending danger in the air. The austerity and solemnity of prayer infused the music. The strings throbbed and resounded with the shapes and forms of the Spanish musical tradition.
The drama and tension of conflict was juxtaposed with a tranquil ardour that transported the listener to a celestial calm.
The perfection of the composition was imbued with the flawlessness of the performance from the Goldner String Quartet especially in the last phrases which generated a stirring pulse in the heart of the Hall.
Continuing with his introductions Dene Olding informed the audience about Borodin who was not only a Romantic composer but a doctor and chemist. I was fascinated to learn he was a notable advocate of women’s rights and was the founder of the School of Medicine for Women in St Petersburg that still exists today.
His gift for melody was beautifully demonstrated in Quartet No.2 and the haunting characteristics of his music made possible the adaption of his compositions in the 1953 musical Kismet notably in the songs Stranger in Paradise and And This Is My Beloved.
Nocturne the third movement was a slow, delicate narrative where the notes of beauty dripped from the bows of the musicians in a stream of integrity.
The tender wistful performance of the music fused the torments and ecstasies of love. Spirits were moved by the ardent composition and the rapturous sounds of viola, violins and cello.
Then followed Puccini who is widely known for his Operas, however he also wrote one String Quartet, Crisantemi (Chrysanthemum) in 1890. Crisantemi is the Italian flower of mourning.
He wrote this composition in response to the death of the Duke of Savoy.
This single continuous sad movement conveyed the power and tragedy of grief. Sorrow invaded, quietly consuming and disturbingly relentless.
The music was knotted with memory and melancholy and this was potently expressed by the four remarkable musicians.
They masterfully unravelled Puccini’s compassion for the sadness, the farewell and the finality of death.
The concert finished with a lively melody, the Finale from Dvorak’s Quartet in F major, Op.96 American. Dvorak composed this Quartet while holidaying in Spillville in Iowa during his time in the USA.
The composition was motivated by the nature that surrounded him and his happy and relaxed time with family.
This melodious, animated, exuberant and energetic music was festive in nature and cheerful in emotional intent. I found it pastoral, broad, expansive and singing the joys of freedom, space and contentment.
It evoked for me his interpretation of the ‘American Dream.’
The authoritative playing was buoyant, bounced with the joy of living, danced with life and echoed the sounds of the country.
It rejoiced in the delight of discovery and an honesty of expression that often pervades a rural landscape.
The audience was euphoric and the enthusiastic applause was rewarded with an encore.
This was a concert by the Goldner String Quartet, full of purity of sound and repeated musical swoons!
Rose Niland, Special Features, The Culture Concept Circle, 2015