National Gallery of Ireland
RTÉ Vanbrugh Quartet
Joanna MacGregor (piano)
This took place in the afternoon. Ms MacGregor only joined the Vanbrughers for one piece, a performance of a 1976 piece by the late Alfred Schnittke. The rest of the programme had everything that Pärt has ever written for the string quartet. This came to three pieces, Fratres (1977), Psalom (1986/1991), and Summa (1977/1991). They also performed Lamentations of the Myrrhbearer 2001 piece by some guy called Ivan Moody (not a local composer as originally inferred), and Schnittke's Piano Quintet of 1976.
I enjoyed this programme a lot more than I expected to, finding myself coming to the conclusion that maybe string quartet music is the highest form of classical. The Schnittke piece might well have been the best, having as it did a kind of doomy mournfulness that nevertheless retained a certain lightness of touch. The Moody piece, meanwhile, was so relaxing that a sharp prod from my neighbour was needed to rouse me from my slumbers. The Pärt pieces, all pretty short, were also greatly enjoyed, with Fratres and Summa providing an interesting contrast between Fast Arvo and Slow Arvo; the latter reminds me somewhat of the opening of the Rheingold, with the music flowing along in a similar kind of way. Apparently it illustrates this tintinnabulation thing that Pärt pioneered, but I wouldn't know about that.
So yes, top marks.