Genius Meets Perfection at Teignmouth Concert
When a musical work of real genius is played to perfection – the audience does not respond with immediate applause. There is a period of awed silence between the last note and the start of the applause. This is what happened on Saturday 16th November in Teignmouth Community School’s Performing Arts Centre when a concert, by Newton Abbot and District Society of Arts, ended with Mendelssohn’s first mature String Quartet (A minor, Op 13) – played by the Ruisi String Quartet. Mendelssohn was all of 18 years of age when he built on Beethoven’s monumental model of string quartet composition, adding the emotions of a young man in love, to create a romantic work of revolutionary power. The Ruisi Quartet gave it their all – from the driving passion of the first violin at the start of the last movement to perfect balance between all four instruments in the delicate fugal sections – this was a string quartet playing of the highest order. The audience was gobsmacked. The silence went on for 5 seconds – to be followed by thunderous applause. And although the applause persisted the Ruisi Quartet declined to give an encore. Rightly so – anything, literally anything after this performance would have been an anti-climax.
The concert had started with a work by another young genius - Three Divertimenti written by a 20-year-old Benjamin Britten. This was a spirited, youthful work ideally suited to the youthful energy of this young quartet. Between these two youthful outpourings, the Ruisi Quartet paid tribute to the “Father of the String Quartet” by playing a mature offering by Haydn – his Quartet in B minor, Op 64 No 2. Needless to say, they played it with admirable finesse. Although founded only six years ago, the Ruisi Quartet, on the evidence of their performance at this concert, are clearly destined for international acclaim. The concert was sponsored by nadsa members Pauline and Keith Smith and was attended by Newton Abbot Mayor, Cllr Richard Jenks and his wife Karen. Peter Lowe