Although they are four string players, they don't play as four separate musicians but instead as one musical force to be reckoned with. Their performance was beautifully synchronised into one glorious interpretation of Beethoven's String Quartet No 15.
Everything about their playing in this closing concert of Glasgow's 2013 Beethoven Festival was exemplary: the fragility of the middle movement, the intensity of the first, and the playful dynamism of the last.
The lyrical third movement was played so majestically that it moved this critic to tears, the human longing of Beethoven's prayer being played with such sensitivity and vulnerability. It is hardly ever the case that gratitude is the lasting impression of a concert, but this is one of them. Glasgow is lucky to call Elias their artist-in-residence over the next three years, and I wait with anticipation for their return this time next year.
Llyr Williams similarly offered us a spectacular rendition of two Beethoven piano sonatas, Nos 22 and 23. Williams is one of the only pianists today who manages to successfully balance meticulous technical brilliance with musical subtlety, which gives Beethoven's intensity its much needed clarity and sentimentality.
The first sonata was almost logical and mechanical, but Williams interpreted the playfulness of the ongoing scale passages, while the second sonata was a fine example of the composer's dramatic attempt at sturm und drang.
The pre-concert recital was given by baritone Stephan Loges, accompanied by Williams on the piano. Loges's rendition of Beethoven's An die ferns Geliebte was dramatic and powerful, his warm and inviting lower registers suiting the heavy romanticism of the period.