Vision String Quartet – seriously hip!
With their film star looks, informal dress and relaxed vibe, The Vision String Quartet is shaking up the established view of string quartets and James Waters, Perth Concert Hall’s creative director for classical music, loves it!
I love string quartets. Many composers wrote some of their very best music for string quartet. However, there is an established view of what a string quartet is and maybe even should be. Things have got better, but until recently you would expect four middle-aged gentlemen wearing suits (or worse, tails) looking rather serious and formal performing this wonderful music.
Now we have the Vision String Quartet who are completely different. These, and forgive my attempt at patois, are seriously hip guys. They are a group of young Germans who decided that they would reinvent the genre. Not in terms of the music, that remains pristine. What they are trying to do is to give people, who might be put off by the aura described above, a way into this simply wonderful music. With this in mind, they play from memory, removing a barrier between the musicians and the audience, they wear informal clothing, they talk to audiences and generally create a much more relaxed vibe for the music to work in.
This makes total sense. What is chamber music after all? It is music on a small scale to be played in intimate surroundings, often by friends. Not content with changing the way a string quartet looks they also exploit the possibilities of their four instruments to create arrangements of pop and jazz numbers which they then perform informally in late night venues and clubs. The only other quartet I can think of who similarly push the boundaries is the wonderful Danish String Quartet and their fabulous arrangements of Nordic folksong.
But, as I write the above, I hear offstage muttering from people, well, people like me! ‘Very nice all this informality, but are they musically serious?’ Well they are. They win major international competitions and the ultimate accolade is that today’s concert is being recorded for future broadcast by BBC Radio 3!
Lunchtime Concerts, Vision String Quartet
Mon 15 Oct 2018: 1pm Perth Concert Hall