I’ve played in more string quartets than I can care to remember… from student days at the Royal Academy of Music, to trying to find some space for four instruments last week in a busy London restaurant. Music for string quartet has been written for centuries, going right back to the “father of the string quartet”, Joseph Haydn, and concerts by quartets at London’s Wigmore Hall regularly sell out. To many, the string quartet adds elegance to a wedding. But here are five reasons why a solo violinist is far more elegant… and effective.
A violinist can move wherever you need them to be – in seconds
A string quartet required four chairs, four stands, and enough space to seat four people and their instruments in a semi-circle. Try to move the quartet and it will be 10-15 minutes before they are ready to play again. A solo violinist simply needs enough room to stand – and can move from location to location without stopping playing.
Spur of the moment vs sheet music
To get four musicians playing the same thing, in the right place, they need to be reading from sheet music. This restricts what they can play, even if they arrive in a car filled with music! A good solo violinist can play anything, from memory, as it pops into their head – or is requested.
Price: 1 player vs 4 players
A simple question of arithmetic: a solo violinist should cost a fraction of the price of a string quartet.
One musician: one person to deal with
Talk to and get a response from the person who is going to perform at your wedding. Don’t wait for an answer agreed in committee by all the members of the quartet.
Much more versatile
Whether playing Beyonce, Al Green, Elbow, Maria McKee, whoever… a string quartet will always sound the same. Four similar instruments of the same sound, struggling to sound like Snow Patrol or Snoop Dogg. A solo violin is far more versatile and is capable of much more subtlety of sound – perhaps that’s why you see violinists, not string quartets, backing so many of today’s performers.