‘One only had to hear the opening bars to realise this is a very fine quartet indeed.’
The Telegraph (UK)
The Goldner String Quartet is an Australian ensemble hailed by critics both here and abroad as one of the finest in the world. Its individual members are well-known for their solo performances and as principal players in major orchestras.
Since its debut at Wigmore Hall, London, in 1997, the Goldner (named after the founder of Musica Viva Australia) has performed regularly in the UK, Europe, Asia and America. In 2011, its appearance at the City of London Festival drew unanimous praise from both audiences and critics. The quartet’s many recordings, including the complete Beethoven quartets and the complete quartets of Carl Vine, have won many awards.
Members of the group also have a longstanding commitment to music education, having mentored young chamber music groups through Musica Viva Australia and the Sydney Conservatorium.
This concert, which marks the twentieth anniversary of the Goldner’s founding in 1995, begins with the first string quartet of Hungarian composer, Gyorgy Ligeti, a single movement of seventeen contrasting sections linked by a single motif. Although reminiscent of Bartok’s great cycle, it is one of the earliest works in which we hear the composer’s distinctive voice.
The deep spirituality of Beethoven’s fifteenth quartet is sometimes attributed to his recovery from serious illness, the sense of votive thanksgiving making it one of his most popular works. With the Missa Solemnis, Ninth Symphony and the Piano Sonatas all behind him, Beethoven focused his creative powers on the quartet, resulting in these final astonishing soundscapes.
The concert will conclude with a new work by the Australian composer Paul Stanhope commissioned by the Goldner. Stanhope will be familiar as Musica Viva’s featured composer in 2010. ‘My music,’ he says, ‘presents the listener with an optimistic, personal geography, whether this is a reaction to the elemental aspects of the universe or the throbbing energy of the inner-city’.