On October 16, 2017, the Auryn Quartet played beautifully at the Olin Concert series. The quartet is made up of two violins, Matthias Lingenfelder and Jens Opperman; a violist, Stewart Eaton; and a cellist, Andreas Arndt. Each member played his instrument and individual part melodiously throughout the night, contributing to the overall harmonious sound that the quartet seamlessly produced. The group performed three pieces, each with multiple movements. Beginning with String Quartet No. 6 in F minor, Op. 80 by Felix Mendelssohn, they moved to String Quartet No. 3 in G Major Op. 94 by Benjamin Butten. Lastly, they played String Quartet No. 14 in A flat Major by Antonio Dvorak. Each piece was distinguishable from the others with a coherent sound from the men throughout the entire performance.
The Auryn Quartet has been playing together for more than 35 years, and the time together is apparent in their performance. The way they interpret each piece so intricately and wonderfully, their distinguishability from one another, and the intense expression they play with sets the group apart from other quartets. These three trademarks were all equally present in the performance on Monday night, making for an entertaining, lovely performance. Their facial expressions in particular cannot be missed. Each man plays with such power and intensity, and both of these characteristics materialize via their facial expressions. I was personally amazed that each man showcased such emotion throughout the entire evening.
The Quartet has been lauded internationally for their skill. They were recognized for their specialness when they won their first prizes at the ARD Competition Munich, the International String Quartet Competition Portsmouth, and the Competition of European Radio Stations. Amongst their successes are the recordings they produce; according to Gramaphone, their recording of the Beethoven quartets is considered to be the best performance of these works in the music industry.
As a violinist myself, I thoroughly enjoyed being able to observe the string players make such beautiful music. There was something truly special about witnessing such pure, effortlessly beautiful music being produced. At the same time however, the performance was equally riveting for a non-musician. Genevieve Dickinson ’21 had “never really been to a concert like this before, but thought it was extremely impressive how the quartet managed to make four instruments sound like a lot more.” She also commented on the idea that “a smaller group can be beneficial in the sense that the musicians get to work together in a more intricate, one-on-one setting.” The performance attracted Bates students as well as local community members, all of whom seemed to thoroughly enjoy the concert as I occasionally looked over to them smiling contently in their seats.
The Olin Concert Series at Bates engages both students and the community, providing us with a variety of talented artists that allow us to witness firsthand artistic excellence and understand a variety of cultures and backgrounds. There are several performances throughout the year, which I highly encourage everyone to attend. The Auryn Quartet was a great addition to the Olin Concert Series and was personally a great introduction to this Series. As a music student, I imagine I will be attending many of these performances throughout the next four years, and am very excited to see what is in store.