Do you ever find yourself asking, where are all the documentaries that feature string quartets? To be honest, I don’t either. However, the folks over at First Run Features were kind enough to send one over for my viewing pleasure and thus began a journey into High Fidelity.
The Guarneri String Quartet is by all accounts the worlds longest running quartet of it’s kind. Made up of musicians Michael Tree, John Dalley Arnold Steindhart and David Soyer, this mix of viola, violins, and cello has been performing classical music together ever since their humble beginnings in 1964.
Taking place in the late 1980′s, we follow the quartet from each individuals home setting, to life on the road as they travel and perform for worldwide audiences. Even after so many years together there is still no distinct leader of the pack, and with each member having very strong opinions about the pieces they choose to play, no one is guaranteed anything.
While the film itself isn’t particularly riveting in any way, it does give you a very clear sense of how serious musicians take their craft and why the attention from a live audience is the most rewarding thing any performer could wish for. The centerpiece for the film is of course the music and it comes across stunningly beautiful. If you happen to be a fan of classical pieces or have never had the experience of listening to instruments that when expertly played have the ability to transport you to a higher level of consciousness, then High Fidelity is a must hear/see.
On a bit of a sad note, the Guarneri String Quartet’s performing days are coming to a close in 2009. Performing now for almost 44 years, there legacy and legend will safely live on through various recordings. But as you may well know, there’s nothing like seeing a live show. For more information on where the final tour dates are located, visit their schedule.