Takacs Quartet's classical intent
They formed more than 35 years ago, but the Takacs Quartet still get a kick out of playing the classics.
"We get to play some of the best music written," says first violinist Edward Dusinberre.
"Composers often experimented with quartets, so you see some of their best and most interesting pieces. And I think we try and communicate our own sense of enjoyment and interaction with each other.
"Chamber music is a bit like actors on a stage, listening very carefully to each other and reacting spontaneously, it's always a little bit different each night."
Formed in Hungary in 1975, the string quartet still features founding members violinist Karoly Schranz and cellist Andras Fejer, along with Dusinberre and Geraldine Walther on viola.
After first performing in New Zealand more than 30 years ago, the musicians are gearing up to play five shows around the North Island over the next week, including the Auckland Town Hall tonight.
It's a chance for Kiwi audiences to listen to some of the best in the business. The four-piece are Grammy Award winners and have been heralded as the greatest string quartet in the world. Their most recent accolade was becoming the first quartet inducted into the Gramophone Hall of Fame.
"It was very nice, and we are trying to take it not too personally that about 70 per cent of the other people inducted into the Hall of Fame are already dead, but we are taking it as a positive," joked Dusinberre.
The programme for the Takacs Quartet's New Zealand shows features works by Bartok, Janacek and Ravel, but the musicians don't believe audiences need to have a classical background to enjoy the performances.
"I think people have this sense, they are a bit intimidated by classical [music] if you don't have the training, but it really doesn't matter. Often with this sort of programme, we find people who haven't heard a lot of classical music, it's more striking, more grabbing to them somehow, because it's so intense, so immediate," said Dusinberre.
"People go to hear music for different reasons, you can go to be soothed and relaxed, to be taken away to somewhere else, to be challenged, there are a lot of reasons to go to a concert...That's the thing with the quartet, it's an intense form of communication and I don't think you need to know anything about it."
The Takacs Quartet
July 6 - Auckland Town Hall
July 7 - Wellington Town Hall
July 9 - Napier Municipal Theatre
July 10 - Christchurch Middleton Grange School