In front of a somewhat stunned audience at Newton Stewart Cinema, the Newton Stewart and District Music Club’s first concert of the season took place recently.
They were treated to a performance, by “The Aurea Quartet”, of Avo Part’s challenging composition, ‘Fratres’, composed in various versions between 1977 and 1992.
The piece is in Part’s ‘tintinnabuli’ style, which, as Abby Hayward (cellist) explained, means ‘bell-like’, and uses the overtones produced by a bell when struck. The first violin and viola have to retune their instruments in order to play the complicated harmonic sequences. The second violin begins with a ‘drone’ on the two lower strings, which is held throughout the whole piece of approximately nine minutes. The cello then plays a pizzicato percussive chord followed by the first violin, viola and cello playing an eight chord sequence in harmonics for six bars of differing lengths. A set of variations on this theme completes the piece.
During the performance the audience seemed mesmerised and listened in total silence, but responded at the end with enthusiastic applause, followed by animated discussion during the interval, when they were also able to chat with the performers.
The Aurea Quartet had begun their concert, on more familiar ground, with Haydn’s String Quartet in A, Opus 55 artistically and sympathetically played.
The second half started with Webern’s ‘Langsaner Satz’, expressing emotional intensity and warm tonality; and finished with Schubert’s Quartet in B flat, D112, which was, in places, performed with lively syncopation and accuracy. The slow movement was particularly moving in its serenity. A playful Minuet and splendid Presto to finish the programme.
Details of further concerts in the Music Club’s season are available from Jim Anderson, telephone 01671 820662, and include Scottish Opera performing Verdi’s ‘Macbeth’, a Scottish fiddle group, and a variety of other performers.