Partridge String Quartet & James Morley

Presented by Musica Viva. Melbourne Recital Centre, 31 Sturt St, Southbank, Melbourne. Tuesday 1st March and Saturday 5th March, 2022

Musica Viva’s FutureMakers program develops and nurtures emerging musical talent in Australia. The Melbourne-based ensemble Partridge String Quartet are the 2020-2022 FutureMakers and their incredible talent is currently on show at the Recital Centre. The quartet features Jos Jonker (Guest Violin), Mana Ohashi (Violin), Eunise Cheng (Viola)

Daniel Smith (Cello), and they team up with cellist, James Morley, for a performance of Franz Schubert's final chamber work, the String Quintet in C major. 

This work is unusual in that it is scored for a standard string quartet plus an extra cello rather than extra viola, which is more common in conventional string quintets. This creates an incredibly dynamic effect, adding richness and depth to the quality of the sound. This also gives the viola a more central and pivotal role in the piece as it sides with the different instruments. The composition is a predominantly vibrant and lively piece with some more soulful moments in the second movement. The extremely meticulous performance by the musicians produces a bright and uplifting atmosphere.

The program also includes a performance of Balderdash (2018) by Holly Harrison which was commissioned for the 2018 Melbourne International Music competition. Here the instruments are often pushing boundaries and produce sounds more akin to popular music. It explores the variations of sound and their sometimes more explosive elements in a light and exuberant manner. Balderdash is delightfully energetic, and the musicians virtually engage in banter as they playfully compete with one another to dominate the stage. 

This program offers an exquisite performance that features some of Australia’s finest emerging talent, and it invites the audience to experience a range of uncommon sounds and unusual musical experiments. 

Patricia Di Risio 

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