The Orava Quartet has an impressive resume already, including not only a 2019 debut release with Deutsche Grammophon playing Tchaikovsky, Rachmaninov and Shostakovich, but also performances right across Australia in any space you care to name. They’ve also been Quartet-in-Residence with Camerata since 2014, so this performance came under Camerata’s banner, and featured their double bassist Marian Heckenberg later in the program.
This concert wound up in one of the State Library of Queensland’s auditoriums necessitated by the recent flooding, but its dry-as-dust acoustic left the ensemble without much room to manoeuvre sound-wise.
The quartet began with Manuel de Falla’s Danza del Molinero(aka the Miller’s Dance) from The Three-Cornered Hat. This is a favourite of classical guitarists, so I was pleased to hear that the quartet brought some nice percussive bite and Phrygian zing to their performance.
The focus of the performance was Pavel Fischer’s 2011 String Quartet No 3, ‘Mad Piper’. Ostensibly it takes inspiration from, among other sources, “Piper Bill” who played his bagpipes while under fire during D-Day at Normandy,...