SA contemporary classical music collaborators Zephyr Quartet celebrated some of the “motion picture musical masters” last night in a delicious rendition of rarely performed concert works for string quartet.
Titled Beyond the Screen, the show was a collaborative project initiated by Zephyr violinist and film enthusiast Emily Tulloch, and also featured a new commission from Adelaide-born composer/producer/violinist Alies Sluiter. The concert was suitably complemented by the starry backdrop and intimate nature of The Promethean theatre in the city.
From the delivery of the first note, the audience was transported to another world. The quartet stood facing each other with their instruments poised as they engaged in musical conversation, performing concert works by composers better known for their film scores.
The first piece, “String Quartet” (1948-54) by Italy’s Nino Rota, enlivened the senses with its poetic splendor. Rota created dozens of scores for film director Federico Fellini, and also wrote the score for Francis Ford Coppola’s The Godfather trilogy.
This was followed by a stirring performance of the deep and dark adventure piece “Echoes for String Quartet” (1965) by American composer Bernard Herrmann, who wrote the memorable score for Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho, as well as the music to Citizen Kane and Taxi Driver.
After the interval, the space was filled with the premiere performance of “Fragments”, Sluiter’s composition specially commissioned for the concert. Sluiter is currently working on the score for a film in the US and has previously composed scores for other features as well as working with artists such as British musician Nitin Sawhney and the Shaolin Monks of China. “Fragments”, the latest of several collaborations with Zephyr Quartet, was a heart-opening and joyful piece of music.
The evening was brought to completion with “String Quartet No. 2” (1933) by the Austrian film and music composer Erich Wolfgang Korngold, who found fame with his scores for epic Hollywood films such as the Errol Flynn classic The Adventures of Robin Hood.
Comprising the talents of Belinda Gehlert and Emily Tulloch (violins), Jason Thomas (viola) and Hilary Kleinig (cello), Adelaide’s Zephyr Quartet is a contemporary gem and a valuable local resource that continues to entertain, illuminate and make us proud.
© Patricia Herreen 2013