Carl Vine on Diana Doherty & St Lawrence String Quartet
On the Vine: March 2012Diana Doherty is an incredible musician. Aside from being Principal Oboe with the Sydney Symphony, she has played in some of the world’s greatest venues and is considered by many to be one of the world’s finest woodwind practitioners.
Diana dances while sitting down. Or, to be more accurate, when she’s sitting down and having fun – which seems to be about any time that she’s playing the oboe. Not to say that she can’t dance standing up like the rest of us, a talent that composer Ross Edwards cleverly exploited in his Oboe Concerto, written for Diana in 2002, which demands a complete theatrical dance performance from the soloist.
She last performed in a national concert tour for Musica Viva in 2002 with the Belcea Quartet from Britain. Matthew Hindson was our very first Featured Composer that year, and he kindly made an arrangement of his ‘Rush’, to feature Diana with the quartet. This work was commissioned by Musica Viva three years earlier not for oboe, but for guitarist Slava Grigoryan to play with the Goldner String Quartet. It is hard to fathom how two such idiosyncratic and vastly different instruments could ever be coaxed to play the same, or even similar, material, but coax Matthew did, and both versions of the work are terrifically effective.
Ten years later, another concert tour by the Dynamic D. Doherty is well overdue. Mozart’s Oboe Quartet is an essential choice for such a tour. There are precious few opportunities to hear this wonderful work played, let alone with such brilliance. For precisely the same reason, ‘Rush’ is a natural inclusion in the new tour.
The St Lawrence String Quartet is also a natural inclusion, even though the group has never performed with Diana before. The group’s members’ careers have woven paths parallel to Diana’s, and they have fraternised over several years at the Spoleto Festival in South Carolina, where the St Lawrence is resident quartet. But this concert tour (14-28 April around Australia) will be their first appearance as a quintet.
The St Lawrence is an energetic and highly dedicated group whose sense of drama and visceral connection with the music perfectly matches Diana’s passions. Like the most successful ensembles that share their ‘middle’ generation, the quartet’s success is founded on massive natural talent supported by years of unbelievably hard work, diligent study and single-minded dedication rising from indefatigable love of the quartet form and its repertoire.
The concert programs for this national tour include Haydn and Beethoven works for which the players confess a particular affection, as well as Mozart’s brilliant oboe quartet which of course enjoys universal appeal.
Our Featured Composer for 2012, Gordon Kerry, makes his first season contribution with ‘Elegy’ – poignant reflections on a time of deep personal loss. Matthew Hindson’s exhilarating ‘Rush’, mentioned above, closes each concert.