What a wonderful chamber music concert at Northwards on Sunday 29 January 2017.
The Odeion String Quartet (Samson Diamond, 1st violin; Sharon de Kock, 2nd violin; Anmari van der Westhuizen, cello; Jeanne-Louise Moolman, viola) played Bartok’s 5th String Quartet and Dvorak’s 2nd Piano Quintet where they were joined by Florian Uhlig on piano. It really is world class stuff in terms of sheer quality of playing. I am thrilled to report that there was a single empty chair in the room. I think someone didn’t make it, for it was a sold out house.
The festival theme this year is a look at folk music and its influence on “serious music” and the programme pieces were selected with this in mind.
The Bela Bartok (1881-1945) String Quartet No 5 was performed first, although it was listed as being after interval in the programme. These little changes are common when atonal music is presented. They are designed to keep people from leaving at interval. Personally I enjoyed the piece, after the “difficult first movement” as Maestro Richard Cock phrased it, was out of the way. And I didn’t hate the first movement either. One of the problems in South Africa is that we get so little of this type of music played that our ears never quite adapt to it and as a result we don’t like it, so we don’t listen to it. A vicious cycle.
The Piano Quintet No 2 Opus 81 by Antonin Dvorak (1841-1904) was a much more accessible piece altogether, as expected. Florian Uhlig is the artistic director for the Johannesburg International Mozart Festival and usually plays a concert or two at the Festival. It was good to hear him. He is based in Germany so the only time we generally hear him is a the Johannesburg International Mozart Festival.
Catering for these Sunday concerts was by Nico Kruger. As always, it was an excellent light supper and the fellowship over the meal with a glass of wine forms part of the charm of the Sunday night concerts held throughout the year at this venue.
The next concert for the festival will be held at Northwards at 19:30 on Monday 30 January 2017 where we will be hearing Stefan Stroissnig on piano.