Edinburgh International Festival music review: St Lawrence Quartet, reviewed by The Scotsman’s David Kettle.
It’s not often you see performers chatting to the Queen’s Hall ice cream sellers and buyers. But first violinist Geoff Nuttall took time out during the interval of the St Lawrence Quartet’s thrilling recital to discuss favourite flavours.
It was unexpected and charming, but it also spoke volumes about the Quartet’s informal, engaged approach to performance – we were all there, clearly, to be intimately involved in the whole event (interval refreshments included), and to share the music with the players. And it went without saying that the players should connect with us directly too.
And what a dramatic, sharply etched concert it was. The St Lawrence foursome’s unfamiliar (and somewhat bizarre, it has to be said) programme of Golijov, Adams and Saint-Saëns had meant quite a number of empty seats, but those who stayed away missed one of the Queen’s Hall’s most vibrant mornings so far. The concluding Saint-Saëns First Quartet brilliantly showcased Nuttall’s strongly characterful playing, while Golijov’s Qohelet was sensuous, and articulated with supple elegance. It was John Adams’s First Quartet, though, that raised the roof – quite a long, demanding work, but one that the St Lawrence tackled in a big, glossy, slick performance, high on flamboyance but without ever feeling calculated. And they took us with them every step of its startling, theatrical journey.
Main image: Leonardo Mascaro
Published in The Scotsman on 26 August 2015
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