Close your eyes and listen closely and you will feel as if you are in the midst of a Warner Brothers action-packed feature thanks to the Borromeo String Quartet which performed at the Earl Cameron Theatre.

The quartet, brought to the island by the Bermuda Festival of the Performing Arts, dazzled the audience with several pieces from the classical era from Mozart to Beethoven. Whether or not you are a classical aficionado, you were given an interesting show. 

One of the most fascinating aspects, was their use of modern technology — their score was on a computer, and they used foot pedals, designed by Kitchen to turn the pages. He explained that the use of the computer gives them a chance to bring in different versions of the same piece and provides practicality because you do not need lots of paper to piece the scores.

The concert opened with Mozart’s Last String Quartet. Nick Kitchen, First Violin, began the performance with a facsimile of Mozart’s full-score for the piece, projected into the background, using humour to explain Mozart’s changes to his score, demonstrating the original score, then the final piece. 

It was light and fun, with movements that were complex and rich. 

One member of the
audience clapped after the second piece, unaware that you hold the applause until the end of the composer’s set. 

The Mozart selection was an excellent opening. 

As the Borromeo String Quartet moved to the next piece, Bartok’s, String Quarted No 4. They began with an explanation of his work and his inspiration. While this made it easier to understand the pieces, it did not make them more palatable. The Bartok pieces lacked a melody; however, that is how Bartok’s music works. You can’t walk away humming his pieces, you just have to be able to enjoy them for what they are, pieces that sound electric, with insects and wheels. 

Quite different, it may not have been the best choice for the night, but it was interesting. The first movement sounded like a war was taking place, the Prestissimo, con sordino sounded like fairies and insects getting caught in water. The Non troppo lento was amazing, despite the lack of melody. 

They had a synergy of chords, and each stringed instrument had a solo in the midst of the chords. The Cello began, followed by the second violin, then the viola, then the first violin. 

One of the most interesting aspects of this piece, was when they all put down their bows and plucked. Quite unusual. It provided a sound like water dropping on various surfaces. 

This quartet, which has been performing for 25 years, finally moved to the final composer — Dvorák, another classical composer whose music is a bit more romantic than the earlier pieces. 

They performed his String Quartet No. 14 in A flat major. The pieces were lively, fun and melodic. Each piece was light, crisp and romantic. You felt as if you were listening to a dual for the love of a maiden, or someone lightly dancing in the sunset. The music was soft, light, quick and clearly an audience favourite. n