In the world premiere of Henderson’s Dombrovskis Quartet, performed by ... the Acacia Quartet, played with such clarity it was as if they had been playing Henderson’s music for most of their lives.
Engaging and gripping from the outset, the concert from this prominent quartet on the Australian musical landscape drew on its collective experience and skill to present intricacies of rhythm in the ingenious works selected. Broad, beautiful shifts of texture or successive textural complexities and string effects in the various modern works were also clearly demonstrated to the attentive audience.
Again we marvelled at the unerring dialogue of the musicians as they responded to each other in this quartet, which began with such longing and foreboding as well as such sadness and hope and evolved, through a display of skill from all the players, through a whole gamut of moods leaving the glorious tranquillity of the second ‘Rosamunde’ movement forever in our musical experience. From this movement we were led through pathos and soberness to the delightfully cheerful last movement, as a rustic folk dance, with Schubert cutting through the gloom to leave us on an optimistic note.
Forgotten – but only until now. With their customary curiosity and vision, Acacia Quartet have prised open the pages of history and breathed fresh life into the music of Raphael. Of equal importance, the ensemble has the requisite individual and collective technical skills to play this music and Forbidden but not Forgotten represented a renaissance in the work of Günter Raphael as well as the Australian premiere of his music.
‘The excited reception ... from the audience was proof of Acacia Quartet’s effective gifting on this night to us of delicate narratives, intensities, colours and shapes found in compositions for the string quartet from last century to now.’
‘Their instincts were good. The lush and complex string textures are still there when the music needs it, but the individual gestures shine out.’
‘There was never a ‘wallflower’ in these pieces, rather, each instrument had its chance to shine, taking up the narrative at different points.’
‘There are string quartets that engage audiences by their sheer will and force of playing. This is not the Acacia Quartet. They approach the music with humility and theirs is an invitation to the listener to engage. This is a great quality in a quartet. Long may it reign.’
‘Acacia Quartet were riveting at this engaging concert’
‘Expertly championed through Acacia Quartet’s sensitive attention to detail’
‘Acacia Quartet performed with mesmerising beauty..’
‘All aided by first-rate playing from the Sydney-based Acacia Quartet’
‘The Acacia Quartet is superb. These fine musicians have only been playing together since 2010. Their achievements in those few years are impressive indeed.’
‘Acacia’s playing was so precise, beautiful in tone, individually nuanced yet with a cohesiveness of playing that almost transcended the music.’
‘Chan’s story is told through a multi-movement string quartet, performed with skill by the Acacia Quartet, who are gaining a reputation for classy performances of new Australian music.’
‘The versatility and technical mastery they both demonstrated as individuals and as an ensemble ... is an impressive testament to their extraordinary talent.’
‘Performances exhibit everything one would expect of fine chamber music playing: a sensitivity towards tonal and timbral balance, a keen ear for flexible musical conversation and, perhaps most importantly, a sense of fun.’
‘Sometimes words can fail to adequately describe what one witnesses... the Acacia Quartet illustrated each movement with an incredible depth of understanding’
‘The Acacia Quartet … have a wonderful sound.’
‘Four extraordinary musicians gave it everything they had... It was playing of the highest order.’
‘This quartet is one of the best things to happen to chamber music in Australia for ages.’
‘The quartet’s warmth of tone and blend is coupled with an infectious passion for this new music, making this recording a stand-out! It is not only exciting music, but exciting playing.’
‘The Acacia Quartet played not only with polished balance, but drew listeners in. This is a young group … on the ascendancy.’
‘Acacia Quartet have the technical mastery to accomplish the demands of the writing and to move seamlessly from one style to another, along with the ability to realise the sense of humour implicit in the writing.’