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The acoustics in the room are incredible, partly at least because of all the wood used. Real wood, of course. Possibly the very thick walls also contribute -- and the tapestries -- but for whatever reason, the room is quite lively. However, it doesn't have a long hang-time, thus the notes always sound individually, never infringing on each other. This was emphasized during the pizzicato sections of the music, in which all the notes were crisp and resonant. The Quatuor's notes blended so smoothly into each other there was no transition discernible.

The transparency at the end of the third movement was too beautiful for words. This particular performance was another highlight for me.

A highlight of a different sort, however, was the closing piece on this abbreviated concert. Certainly, this piece will not routinely appear on concert programs. That's too bad, too, as more examples of musical humour can only be a wonderful thing. Time was when all large hotels had a salon orchestra. In some cases, this was only a string quartet, in others, perhaps 12-15 players might be employed.

Hindemith apparently had a great sense of humour, and sympathised with his musical cohorts about the trials and tribulations of such employment. Therefore, his 1925 composition Overture to the Flying Dutchman as played at sight by a scratch band at the spa hotel at 7 o'clock in the morning.

Bravo to Quatuor Terpsycordes for having the necessary intestinal fortitude to perform this piece, in the spirit in which it was intended! The strong performance of Wagner's overture which begins the work, slowly comes adrift, beginning with the unfortunate cellist. From there, the malaise spreads, until the musicians find themselves playing another work entirely. It is not easy to play wrong notes on purpose, and it was joyful to watch these wonderful musicians play the wrong notes with the same energy and passion as they play the proper ones!

By all accounts, the afternoon recital by Liza Ferschtman, violin, and Finghin Collins, piano, was outstanding. They performed the Saint-Saëns Violin Sonata No 1 in D minor Op 75, and Grieg's Violin Sonata No 3 in C minor Op 45. I was unhappy to have missed it, but it is just not possible to attend absolutely every performance.

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Copyright © 5 July 2007 Kelly Ferjutz, Bantry, Ireland


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