Inverurie Music staged the classical component on Saturday of the In Tune weekend gigs with the Solem Quartet in the Acorn Centre. The String Quartet are Amy Tress (1st violin), William Newell (2nd violin), Joseph Griffin (viola) and Stephanie Tress (‘cello). Forming in 2011 in Manchester University, they took its name from the University’s motto, “arduus ad solem”, meaning “striving towards the sun.” Despite the lack of sunshine, the quartet clearly enjoyed playing in the generous acoustics of the Acorn Centre and confidently and clearly described the pieces that they played.
The Quartet no. 23 in F minor by Haydn demonstrated the composer’s gift in stretching daylight to the limits with its bright and witty mood. One gets the impression of the master cabinet maker, turning the piece to perfection, without any frills.
If we compare this with Schumann’s Quartet no 3 in A major, the work is dramatic and stubbornly so at times but the impression is that perhaps the composer was trying too hard to impress with the string quartet medium. The rather gaudy texture seems to lack the economy of form that the masterful piano-string compositions do with their inward pace and onward drive of logic.
The highlight of the evening was undoubtedly the Beethoven Quartet no 12 in E flat major, which was played with dedication and aplomb. The changes of tempo and mood were skilfully handled, at times putting the audience on the edge of their seats. Such confidence was soon transformed into delight and the Quartet were brought back twice to the stage to hear their appreciative and warm applause.
1st October 2019