On April 12, the internationally-known Harrington String Quartet held their last performance of the year at the Fibonacci Space, home of Chamber Music Amarillo. An ongoing renovation of Northern Recital Hall necessitated the change-of-venue.
The Quartet, composed of Rositza Jekova-Goza and Evgeny Zvonnikov on violin, Vesslin Todorov on viola and Emmanuel Lopez as cellist, played three works: String Quartet in B-flat major, K. 458 ‘Hunt’ by Mozart, Italian Serenade by Hugo Wolff and String Quartet in E flat major, Op. 44 by Felix Mendelssohn.
The so-called “Hunt” was one of six quartets dedicated to Haydn, termed by Mozart as father to receive his (WAM’s) children. The moniker “Hunt” was a later appellation, resulting from a first movement resonance similar to a hunting horn.
The “Allegro vivace assai” has a nice melding of parts and a prancing rhythm making for easy listening in late 18th c. circles.
The Menuetto is slower-paced, with short tonal statements followed by short runs. Perhaps Mozart was releasing his inner Telemann.
The “Adagio” is stately, featuring the first violin for much of the work. One can truly wonder about Mozart’s mood as he was writing for Poppa Haydn and whether he somewhat tempered his style.
Finally, the “Allegro” opened with high energy and maintained a sustained pulse throughout, with violin assertion and responses from the other three instruments.
Hopefully Haydn was happy with this child, as well as the other five children bequeathed to him by the young genius.
The Quartet substituted the “Italian Serenade” by Hugo Wolff to replace a work by Arensky due to the absence of the pianist. Not a problem as the piece was a delight.
Composed in only three days in 1887, the composer, possibly drew inspiration from poems by Joseph Eichendorff and the author’s novella, “From the Life of a Ne’er-Do-Well.”
Considering the unhappy fate of the composer, whose life was cut short in a syphillis sanitarium, this piece is light, whimsical, and easy on the ears.
The final work of the season was Mendelssohn’s “String Quartet in E-flat major, Op 44 No. 3,” composed in 1838 and one a set of three dedicated to the Crown Prince of Sweden.
Though the composer is normally considered a traditionalist, the exuberant emotions which permeate this work acknowledge the context of Romanticism and the influence of Beethoven.
The first movement, “Allegro vivace,” sequences sixteenth notes in various patterns either as a statement or adornment. The overall mood is aerobic with an uplifting counter-point that at times detaches from the melody, but which works.
The rapid-fire opening by the violins in the “Scherzo” is answered by the viola and cello, and reminds one of a Wild West Hollywood scene.
By comparison, the “Adagio” is almost wake-like, somber and reverent, with an overarching violin singing in a lyrical descant.
The assertive beginning of the fourth movement, has the first violin setting a tone maintained almost to the end, with each instrument playing autonomously until all coalesced towards the end in a magnificent conclusion.
After the applause, the sound of Harleys and pickups on 6th St. reminded us, like a GPS, of our location: a place where none outside the Panhandle pale expect such sophisticated fine art.
For the HSQ, and to all individuals and groups who create elevated art in this place, goes our gratitude and our thanks for a wonderful season.
In eager anticipation of the 2019/2020 Arts Season, we say, “Keep Amarillo Artsy! Keep Austin Weird! Keep Lubbock in the Rear View Mirror!!!!”