The Artis Quartet was programmed in the cloister of Silvacane Abbey as part of the “Festival International de Quatuors à Cordes du Lubéron”.
My 1st encounter with the Austrian Quartet goes back to the early 1990s, with a memorable concert at what was then known as the “Auditorium du Châtelet”, including a fabulous version of Beethoven’s 15th Quartet.
As Parisian concert halls have unfortunately and inexplicably reduced the number of string quartet concerts – with the exception of the “Biennale des Quatuors” at the Cité de la Musique, but where one risks an overdose, and the Auditorium du Louvre who put up some resistance – even tough the public was there, you need to go elsewhere to see the great ensembles.
The Artis, who some years ago decided to play standing (except for the cellist naturally !), as the Emersons or Artemis do, had included in their programme 3 composers who like them have a deep link with music in Vienna.
They opened the evening with Alexander von Zemlinsky’s Quartet in E minor, an early work. After this taster, they took up one of Mozart’s highest masterpieces, his 19th Quartet, the last of the quartets dedicated to Haydn, nicknamed Dissonance, due to the beginning of the 1st movement. The Artis Quartet provided a very fine interpretation of the piece. After the pause, they played Brahms 3rd Quartet, displaying the same qualities, even if I liked the 4th movement less.
As an encore, the Artis Quartet played an outstanding Andante from Mozart’s 21st Quartet.
I wish to dedicate this concert – and in particular The Dissonance – to my friend and teacher Olivier Corbiot, whom I met in 1973 and who passed away in early August, a few days short of his 86th Birthday, which we would have celebrated on the 12th, the eve of this concert.