A string quartet is an odd thing: a closely integral group of four players, who perform some of the most intimate music ever composed. This is illustrated nowhere more so, than during today’s “Rush Hour” concert. The Edinburgh Quartet (with a few personnel changes) play one of the longest and hardest quartets in the repertoire: Beethoven’s first Razumovsky quartet, dedicated to Count Razumovsky, the Russian delegate in Vienna.
The work was composed at the height of Beethoven’s middle period, when he was the most famous German composer of the time. The symphonies and concertos that flank this piece are terrific, but this quartet divided the critics. It is nearly fifty minutes long and has charm, wit (the repeated one-note scherzo), elegy, and in a final nod to his patron, a Russian Dance.
Considering some quartets have refused to take this work on tour because of the stamina involved, the Edinburgh Quartet must be highly praised for today’s performance, which is full of colour and energy. Bravo!