It’s just the beginning of the Haddo Arts Festival but one theme beginning to emerge is youthful vitality. The concert by the Maxwell Quartet on Sunday was another example, after the young professional soloists singing in Samson on Saturday, with four energetic musicians playing in perfect synchronisation.
Being in the company of such gifted performers was the perfect way to spend an Autumn afternoon. Without any preamble, we were plunged into Mozart’s Quartet in B flat –an effervescent piece with folk tunes weaving in and out of it.
Ellliot Perks on the viola introduced the Debussy piece, his only string quartet, highlighting various musical themes to look out for intervals of notes falling and evidence of the composer’s interest in the Orient. This music in some ways reflected the art of the Impressionist artists like Monet and Renoir, with its dreamy phases, changing musical textures, like the pizzicato in the Spanish-themed (Andalusian) scherzo and musical motifs recurring in slightly different guises.
The Debussy piece provided a wonderful contrast with Mozart, with the composer bridging classical styles into new ideas looking forward to a modern era. With the audience enthusiastically calling for more, Colin Scobie, George Smith, Elliot Perks and Duncan Strachen, otherwise known as the Maxwell Quartet played a wistful Scottish Air followed by two lively, jaunty Shetland jigs. We were lucky to catch them before they set off on their tour of the USA.