In a program with a new work by an Australian composer it would be easy to gloss over a Beethoven string quartet, the Razumovsky Opus 59/1, but the Opus Now concert at the small and very intimate Alpha Gallery in Newtown was a most notable exception. And even more surprising was that this is an ad hoc quartet of Sydney Symphony Orchestra members, Andrew Haveron and Georges Lentz (violins), Stewart Johnson (viola), Chris Pidcock (cello). All wonderful players, they brought individual qualities to the performance and maybe because of their shared orchestral experiences seemed to be on a mutual journey that belied the fact that this was only the second time they had performed as a quartet. It was a privilege to be in such close proximity to this exciting music making. One can only hope that they give more concerts in the near future.
This unanimity was also in evidence when they played with the percussionist Timothy Constable in his Timelapse for vibraphone and string quartet. I have known and admired the performance skills of Timothy Constable for more than 15 years but this was the first time I had heard one of his compositions. Dense and at times intense layering of rhythmic material and still always lyrical and with its musical roots in traditional tonality, Timelapse is an important addition to the repertoire.
This was a concert in three parts or maybe I should say from three different worlds. Finishing in Vienna at the early part of the 1800’s and in the middle a work of now from Sydney the concert began with a performance of timeless folk-tradition music from Mongolia. Bukhchuluun Ganburged charmed the capacity house audience with Mongolian Folk songs performing his Morin Khuur, Horse Head Fiddle and singing that special harmonic music, throat singing.
The Opus Now concerts at Alpha Gallery are a treat and deserve Sydney music lovers greatest support.
Opus Now – Concert Series 9 by CP Productions + Freya Schack-Arnott + Alpha Gallery | Tuesday 13 March 2018, 7pm