01 August, 2008

AYO Artist-Faculty String Quartet

27 July, 2008
AYO Artist-Faculty String Quartet
RTHK4 Studio

This ad-hoc string quartet is formed by faculty members of the Asian Youth Orchestra, the biographies of which can be found in the AYO website (see links to the right). The Schubert Quartet no. 13, D804, "Rosamunde" came across rather disastrously in the dry acoustics of RTHK4 studio. The biggest problem was the first violinist Thanos Adamopoulos, whose wildly uneven playing and weak tone failed to lead nor gel with the other strings.

The ensuing Shostakovich Piano Trio no. 2 (first 3 movements only) was a whole lot better. Lynn Chang, who was second-violin before, took charge and played beautifully well together with cellist Rhonda Rider (well known in modern music and has many CDs to her credit). Apparently they all hailed from Boston (violist Marcus Thompson too) and played a lot together before in chamber music. Pianist Long I Ian, from the student orchestra and HKAPA, played dutifully but not incisive enough for this piece.

The concert was much longer than the usual RTHK4 fare, as there were interviews of all four players. "Boss" Richard Pontzious was there together with guest conductor James Judd. The latter was low-key but I thought the former was pretentious in his praise of the Schubert.

The concert showed that just putting a few players together does not chamber music make.

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