Hailed by The Times as ‘superb’, the Doric String Quartet is undertaking its first national tour for Musica Viva pairing two programs of Haydn, Schubert and Beethoven with a brand-new work by Australian star composer Brett Dean.
A Doric column, thanks to the ancient Greeks, is a simple, perfect thing. It makes its fluted way directly into the floor; no fancy stuff, only a sublime balance of proportion. The same can be said for the Doric Quartet which comprises violinists Alex Redington and Ying Xue, Hélène Clément, viola and John Myerscough cello.
This year, the ensemble celebrates its twenty-first birthday. Founded in 1998, the Doric Quartet has established itself as the leading British string quartet of its generation. They perform regularly in Europe’s major concert halls and have close ties with the Wigmore Hall.
This is their first national tour of Australia after previous appearances at the Huntington and Musica Viva Festivals. On this visit, Program 1 features music by Haydn and Schubert; program 2 offers music by Haydn and Beethoven. The new piece by Brett Dean, his third quartet sub-titled Hidden Agendas, sits confidently and aptly beside these other masters.
Commissioned through Musica Viva Australia in celebration of the Melbourne Recital Centre’s tenth anniversary, Hidden Agendas is a multi-national collaboration with support from Ulrike Klein AO, Edinburgh International Festival, Konzerthaus Berlin, Stichting Strijkkwartet Biënnale Amsterdam, Carnegie Hall, and West Cork Chamber Music Festival.
The group’s bond with Brett goes back to the Melbourne International Chamber Music Competition of 2007. Approaching the group’s big anniversary, violist Hélène Clément reflects on the relevance of quartet music in these times. ‘It requires a lot of time to appreciate it. It’s very intimate…that’s why it remains so special. And especially nowadays, when videos on YouTube have to be less than one minute long if you want people to look at them, I think it’s crucial.’
Program 1: Sydney Weekday, HAYDN String Quartet in E-flat major, op 33 no 2 ‘The Joke’/ Brett DEAN String Quartet no 3 Hidden Agendas (World Premiere)/ SCHUBERT String Quartet no 15 in G major, D887
Program 2: Sydney Weekend, HAYDN String Quartet in B-flat major, op 33 no 4/Brett DEAN String Quartet no 3 Hidden Agendas (World Premiere)/ BEETHOVEN String Quartet no 14 in C-sharp minor, op 131