Adelaide Festival. Heath Quartet. Ukaria Cultural Centre. 9 Mar 2020.
The third and final concert in the Adelaide Festival’s Composer & Citizen mini-series again contrasts the old with the new: the last string quartet by Beethoven, and the last by Michael Tippett.
Tippett’s String Quartet No.5 lacks a formal structure and comprises two broad movements each comprising sections of varying pace and colour. In both movements, the slower sections are almost agonising, and the award winning Heath Quartet (Oliver Heath, violin, Sara Wolstenholme, violin, Gary Pomeroy, viola, and Christopher Murray on cello) dug deep to bring Tippett’s taut but refined composition to life. The composition only yields its subtly constructed melodies in the hands of great technicians, which the Heath’s most certainly are.
By contrast, Beethoven’s String Quartet No.16 in F, Op.135 is more accessible but demands no lesser technique: it is lively and at times feels instinctive as it strives towards resolution and a natural end point. The Heath’s allow the music to do the talking and do not push the emotional content beyond its core, especially in the final allegro movement.
The conversation between the cello and other instruments is beautifully articulated, including the more muscular passages in the finale, and nothing is lost. Questions are posed, and answers are suggested.
The Heath’s are a class ensemble, and they handle the individuality of Tippett and the authority of Beethoven incisively.
The Composer & Citizen series has been a masterstroke of programming.
When: 9 Mar
Where: Ukaria Cultural Centre