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FourPlay at the Corner Hotel - review

July 14th, 2006 (10:47 pm)

FourPlay String Quartet

8:30pm, Friday July 7

The Corner Hotel, Melbourne

 

The band room at Richmond’s Corner Hotel was alive with expectation last Friday night. There was something different in the air- something like a greater respect for the people soon to grace the stage. And once the show began it was easy to see why. The much anticipated group FourPlay are so outstanding in every way.

 

Since their humble beginnings in the Australian Youth Orchestra, FourPlay has continued to gather a faithful following. A self-proclaimed “eclectic, electric string quartet”, the ensemble’s extreme versatility and distinctive style has created high expectations among their supporters.

 

And they did not disappoint. Consisting of Lara Goodridge on violin and vocals, Peter Hollo on cello and Tim Hollo and Shenzo Gregorio on viola, FourPlay impressed and entertained the Melbourne crowd. This gig was part of a national album launch for their latest release Now to the Future. Empowered by their refusal to fit into any one category, this foursome has time and time again defied attempts to label them by continually surprising listeners. This album is no exception.

 

Opening the show with Bollyrock, an original composition, what was merely a string quartet sitting on a dimmed stage conjured images of an Indian paradise. From the beginning it was clear that this was not just another group cheapened by the pressures of the pop music industry. Gregorio played his opening solo, temporarily transforming his viola into a sitar. Totally absorbed in each and every note, he displayed a remarkable precision which is certainly an asset to the group.

 

Lara’s vocals in Trust were moving and perfect to the finest nuance; her rendition of Cry Me a River was full of beauty and sorrow. Her sultry voice hushed the rowdy audience and they melted before her, lost, as was Lara, in the songs she made her own.

 

It was perhaps their cover of The Strokes’ Reptilia which really demonstrated both their ensemble skills and individually unique abilities. Tim Hollo for example becomes his instrument. He moves with it, breathes with it, and the music comes out of him, not the strings. In contrast, his brother Peter on cello seems to make his instrument work for him. He had an energy to his playing which bordered on violence and when he acknowledges the man who repaired his bow this afternoon the audience doesn’t wonder why the horse hairs snapped in the first place.

 

Together they work so well. Seeming to play on intuition alone, each slide and swing is perfectly executed. With a combination of extreme technical ability and superior musicianship, they are a rare example of classical music merging with other styles and successfully creating a wholly new and different sound.

 

This gig, like their newest album, brought together their song writing skills as well as their ability to individualise any covers they do. Engaging in everything from jazz and blues, to pop, rock and electronica, FourPlay consistently makes a seamless transition between each style, with their comfort in each exemplifying their vast scope of talent.

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