The Paddington Uniting Church provided the beautiful venue for Ironwood’s concert Prussian Frogs and Bohemian Princes.
It was a cold night, and after extensive warming up of their period instruments, the members of Ironwood performed Haydn’s String Quartet Opus 50 No.6 in D Major, dedicated to the Prussian King Frederick William II. It was nicknamed “The Frog” (not Freddo the Frog) due to its special “bariolage” effect. This involves alternately bowing the same note on two different strings and so producing a rapid change in timbre, reminiscent of a frog’s mating call. Ironwood’s performance was immaculate and one could really hear that playful frog in the last movement.
This was followed by Beethoven’s String Quartet Opus 18 No.2 in G Major, fulfilling the second half of the concert title, as it was commissioned by the Bohemian Prince Joseph Franz von Lobkowitz. This quartet is like a conversation between old friends, which was echoed by the interaction between the players themselves. One could see and hear the love and pleasure these fine musicians felt whilst playing this quartet. To me it was like meeting an old beloved friend.
It was an honour to be able to sketch these artists at such close proximity, especially when Rachael Beesley herself had a look at them after the concert.