Spring in our Step: The Galliard String Quartet takes to Kahilu stage – West Hawaii Today

Classical music is full of dance tunes: gavottes, minuets, gigues, pavanes; because music was written for the entertainment of wealthy aristocrats, and their parties often included dancing. The Galliard was a French Renaissance dance in which the man shows off his prowess with leaps and flourishes, like birds who strut their stuff to win their fair lady.

The Galliard String Quartet, true to its name, has a light, lively, virtuosic style which imbued all three of their selections for their recent Kahilu TV concert. They take more liberties with tempo than most classical groups, allowing the listener to savor each phrase, and giving a more modern feel to old classics. They favor a detaché style, with each note crisply articulated.


The first movement of Mozart’s String Quartet No. 19 in C major, K 495, has been given the name “Dissonance.” That’s hardly a word you think of in connection to Mozart, or to the classical period for that matter! It begins as a very slow Adagio, each instrument entering on a different beat, and on a different chord; it feels like at least one instrument is a tone off or a beat behind the others before catching up. This dissonant introduction is a surprise, but then the music quickly turns into a snappy allegro, in the familiar Mozart style.

Beethoven’s Quartet No. 3 in D major, Opus 18 expresses contentment. While much of Beethoven’s work is tempestuous and