Youth Ambassador Review - Lazarus String Quartet

Our Youth Ambassador Matt went along to Lazarus String Quartet yesterday. Here's what he thought. Remember, although this show has passed, there are many more Chamber Music New Zealand concerts to attend! 

It is not often that you get treated to a concert that is as inspiring as it is charming, but this afternoon's concert was just that, as was the quartet that presented it: The Lazarus String Quartet proved themselves as some of Canterbury's most impressive International musicians. Punctuated by constant reminders of the soundscape we live in, the young players created classical beauty in a broken city. 

The young quartet, made up of Emma Yoon, Julianne Song, Lindsay McLay and Alice Gott, are graduates of the University of Canterbury who are taking the classical world by storm with a raft of accolades already to their name as they have moved to Europe further their studies. As a current student at Canterbury's School of Music, attending this concert was both encouraging and a testament to how far any young musician can go with talent, dedication and passion. 

The concert itself featured masterworks for string quartet in a varied programme, and these delicate works of art were executed with poise and professionalism. The first was Beethoven's String Quartet Op 18 no 2, a fairly conservative work from the young Beethoven. The programme note mentioned Beethoven's 'total mastery' of the genre, and through the quartet's performance it was clear the performers too had total mastery over their instruments. The difficult acoustic was handled well and the work brimmed over with youthful energy and charm.

Contrasting with this, the quartet then delved into the exciting depths of modern music, presenting Pierre Jalbert's Icefield Sonnets: North is a Notion. This work spoke with great impact thanks to the masterful interpretation of the performers, filling the wintery work with moments of cold subtlety against flashes of ferocity.  

The quartet finished with Brahms' masterful first String Quartet, one that took almost twenty years to perfect. The inner movements of this work were stunningly intimate, reflecting the quartet's emotional connection to not only the music, but each other and the captivated audience in front of them. 

All in all, the quartet performed as musicians well beyond their years: bold, elegant, attentive and cheerful. The Lazarus Quartet's energy and charm was contagious, and the players proved themselves part of an inspiring new generation of musicians.