The Kontras String Quartet
For my concert critique I went to see The Kontras String Quartet. They performed in a room at Saint Mary’s School. The room was beautiful with paintings of composers all over the walls and eighteenth century décor. The audience was composed of approximately 50 people, as I do not believe the room could hold many more, and was mainly comprised of mature ladies and gentlemen. They were educated musical listeners with a lighthearted attitude. The quartet was built with four ladies and gentleman, all from different countries. They explained during the show that they try to play music from their home countries, so the concert was arranged with pieces from Russia and Japan.
The first piece was “String Quartet in E-flat, Op.33 No. 2” By Franz Joseph Haydn. In the program joke was written in quotations beside the name of the song, and after hearing it, I understood why. It begins with a grand pause, and I have to admit I wondered if it was over. Then, there are rests about every two bars, almost as if tricking the audience again and again to contemplate weather the piece had ended. The rests then get longer as the song goes on, which turns out to make the ending very amusing. The texture was polyphonic, playful and carefree. The tempo is constantly changing throughout the piece, adding to the light, chiasmic, and joking feel. The dynamics also changed frequently and this was a major part of the piece. Without the constant crescendos and diminuendos, the audience would not be able to understand the teasing nature of the music. There is definitely a theme of variation in this piece where sonority is again changing within the piece. Since this was a quartet, many string techniques were used during the course of the music, including vibrato, glissando, and trills. The finale is a crisp rondo, alternating with contrasting themes, making the final joke. At the end of this piece the audience was full of laughter.
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