A stunning collaboration with one of Australia’s most acclaimed actors John Bell, Tinalley String Quartet presents Speak Less Than You Know at the Sydney Opera House (26 & 27 September) and Melbourne Recital Centre (4 October).
Blending the beautiful sounds of the quartet with the rich storytelling talents of Bell, Speak Less Than You Know is a musical insight into the complex disposition of one of the most famous and influential composers of all time, Ludwig Van Beethoven, within two acoustically rich, iconic Australian venues.
In addition to Beethoven’s musical narrative which is titled Beethoven’s Letters the program also features Mendelssohn String Quartet Opus 13 in a minor. Beethoven’s Letters interweaves the letters and memoirs of Ludwig van Beethoven, including the famous ‘immortal beloved’ correspondence and his Heiligenstadt Testament, read by Bell and interspersed with movements from Beethoven’s String Quartets Opus 18, 74, 131, 132 and 135.
For many the music of Beethoven is known intimately, yet his character remains a rich tapestry of ambiguities… a lover and philanderer; a man wounded by his faith yet searching for salvation; a child prodigy abused by his father; a father figure at the tender age of seventeen; a man besieged by illness, wrestling with depression.
In Beethoven’s Letters we glimpse a man yearning to be understood by his fellow man, vulnerable through heartbreak. Through his music we feel the depth of his pain and anguish but above all, his great capacity for love and wonder at the beauty of life.
“The notion of working with John Bell came about after my husband (viola player, Justin Williams) and I saw his stunning production of Opera Australia’s Tosca,” says Tinalley co-founder and 2nd Violinist, Lerida Delbridge. “At that stage, we began mulling over the idea of working with John and given the rapturous reception to Beethoven’s Letters in 2011.”
“We felt it would be wonderful to present the project again, this time with John Bell as Beethoven. We invited John to a Quartet performance in 2015 and mentioned the idea of working with him in 2016 and were thrilled when he came on board immediately!”
The program opens with the dramatic Opus 13 Quartet of Mendelssohn in a minor. Mendelssohn wrote the Opus 13 quartet only months after Beethoven’s death, and the impact of Beethoven’s quartets, had a profound affect on the 18-year old Mendelssohn. There is however, another element that shines through in the Opus 13… Mendelssohn had only recently experienced the first tender flushes of youthful infatuation, and the quartet is imbued with a heartfelt sense of poetic abandon.
The Opus 13 Quartet was the first Mendelssohn quartet the Tinalley String Quartet explored in its formative years, and its performance of the Opus 13 at the 9th Banff International String Quartet Competition saw Tinalley would walk away with First Prize, making it the first and only Australian string quartet to win a major international string quartet competition.
“It’s fitting that we pair Mendelssohn’s much loved Opus 13 with this broad cross section of excerpts from Beethoven’s catalogue of quartets as Mendelssohn adored these works and drew much inspiration from them,” says Justin Williams. “Opus 13 is a truly wonderful work, full of passion and reflection, it’s inspired by love. This quartet holds a special place in Tinalley’s heart as it was the subject of great devotion and exploration during our formative years’.
Curated by Anna Melville, Tinalley String Quartet first performed Speak Less Than You Know for the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra’s 2011 Beethoven Festival with actor John Stanton.
Speak Less Than You Know
Utzon Room – Sydney Opera House, Bennelong Point
Performances: Monday 26 & Tuesday 27 September 2016
Elisabeth Murdoch Hall – Melbourne Recital Centre, Southbank Boulevard, Southbank
Performance: Tuesday 4 October 2016
For more information, visit: www.tinalley.com.au for details.
Image: Tinalley String Quartet