Bravo! - Paul Stanhope In Complete Control

27 July 2010

Bravo to Paul Stanhope, a casual teacher of Composition at the SCM.

Paul's String Quartet No. 2, commissioned for Musica Viva by another SCM alumnus, Kim Williams AM, received its first performance by the Pavel Haas Quartet at the City Recital Hall, Angel Place on Saturday 24 July. The new work was highly praised by The Australian's reviewer, Murray Black:

"The overwhelming impression left by the world premiere of Australian composer Paul Stanhope's String Quartet No.2 was of a creator in complete control of his material. Not a note was superfluous, nor an idea over or underused.

Instead, Stanhope's conjoined four-movement work revealed an assured sense of structure and impressive breadth of expression.

One of Stanhope's aims in the quartet is to reflect on the relationship between the old world and the new, just as Dvorak did in his American works. He succeeds admirably.

Passages of frenzied intensity and propulsive energy in the first two movements conjured up the spirits of Janacek and Pavel Haas while the leaping figures and rhythmic drive of the exuberant finale were reminiscent of Carl Vine.

Stanhope is also a natural tunesmith when he wishes to be. The quartet's third movement, Dirge (Variations), rivals Richard Meale's Cantilena Pacifica in its soaring beauty and yearning lyricism.

This new quartet is a hugely accomplished work and a significant addition to Australia's impressive string quartet oeuvre."

The Pavel Haas Quartet, currently on a national tour, will perform Paul Stanhope's work again at the City Recital Hall on Monday 2 August.

Contact: Mick Le Moignan

Phone: 02 9351 1385

Email: 3f30113e6018265501230b082c23702b522003234e435103176f2840