Eusebius Quartet Concert in Great School

On Thursday 21 March, we welcomed the Eusebius Quartet to Great School, featuring Lancing’s cello teacher, Hannah Sloane. They opened with Beethoven’s String Quartet No.16 with Hannah briefly explaining the key motifs to the audience, shedding new light on the work, both for those unfamiliar with Beethoven’s chamber music and seasoned listeners. From the electrifying Vivace second movement to the sombre, chorale-like third movement, the Quartet took the audience on a journey concluding with the final movement: ‘The Difficult Decision’. The quartet expertly conveyed the darkness of the introduction, labelled by Beethoven ‘must it be?’, before creating joyful contrast in the Allegro: ‘it must be’. 

In the second half of the concert Eusebius performed Korngold’s String Quartet No.2. Being relatively unfamiliar with Korngold’s chamber works, it was wonderful to discover this piece and I will certainly be exploring more of Korngold’s chamber music. The quartet was performed with such panache, from the rich harmonic writing of the Allegro opening movement to the haunting artificial harmonics in the third movement. The work concluded with an exuberant waltz, with the Quartet capturing the Viennese lightness of the opening before building to an exciting conclusion.

Miss Emilie Harlow
Teacher of Music

I was so excited to hear the Eusebius Quartet, after learning about Ms Sloane’s musical endeavours when she spoke to the Academic Scholars a few years back. For those of us who did not know much about Beethoven (some of us) or Korngold (most of us), the introductions before each of the evening’s works were invaluable. I was struck by Ms Sloane’s comment that Beethoven would lead us into ‘his own universe’ through Quartet No. 16 — and, sure enough, he did. This was extraordinary, given that most Thursday nights (even at Lancing College) do not involve inter-universe travel. Ms Sloane theorised that Beethoven’s question (that he asked and then answered in the Allegro, according to his annotated manuscripts) may have related to how, or whether at all, he might pay his housekeeper. The fascinating arrangement of the Vivace section mimicked, to me, the servants rushing up and down the stairs, with building configurations of strict on-the-beat playing. I liked the small and careful silences of the Allegretto before this, and the dramatic plucking in the final Allegro.


Eusebius’s desire is to introduce Korngold’s music to new audiences; they succeeded in enlightening this audience thus after the interval. The first violinist Beatrice Philips told us that Korngold discovered film music upon moving to the USA from Vienna (during Nazi Germany); he is not as well-known as Beethoven, despite influencing famous composers like Vaughan Williams. I found String Quartet No. 2 immersive and interesting. Beatrice Philips mentioned that the Waltz (Finale), which I found most exciting, sees Korngold develop the waltz of his Viennese roots until it is ‘out of hand’. I could visualise the dancers almost lifting off the floor vigorously as this intensified; extreme plucking and col legno playing — using the wood of the bow, not its hairs, to create a rapid tapping impression — were two techniques through which Korngold ensured that the audience was kept engaged. This contrasted with the section before it (Larghetto), consisting almost entirely of exposed, sustained lines in each (or a combination) of the parts. 

Hannah C
Upper Sixth