Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Zemlinsky Quartet - Mozart, Kalabis & Zemlinsky - 11/03/09

Mozart: String Quartet in C Major, K. 465, "Dissonance"
Kalabis: String Quartet No 7, Op. 76
Zemlinsky: String Quartet No 1 in A Major, Op. 4

Yesterday evening I finally found my way back to the Library of Congress concert series for the first time since last June. While I fully enjoy the sweeping nature of symphonic performances, I have to say that some my most thrilling highs have happened in the Coolidge Auditorium, where quite often chamber music ensembles have forever broadened and deepened my appreciation for that more intimate but so engaging form of musical entertainment. A lot of them were totally unknown to me at the time and turned out to be true revelations, so I naturally keep going back for more. As a well-timed nod to my still vividly remembered four days in Prague, yesterday's program featured a young Czech quartet whose ever-growing trajectory was probably the reason why they've changed their name from the Penguin Quartet to the more dignified Zemlinsky Quartet.

The concert started off with a spirited quartet by Mozart, and I have to say that it was impossible for my non theoretically trained ears to find the justification for its surprising nickname: "Dissonance". A detailed technical explanation was provided in the program, of course, but what the heck. I fully enjoyed the progression of the music from original dark undertones to eventual soaring exuberance and as far as I'm concerned, the experts can debate all they want.
Then we somewhat predictably moved on to a Czech composer, the prolific and almost contemporary Viktor Kalabis. Just one movement, the work featured strong melodic currents and flew by in a flash.
I'm assuming that a little something by their namesake was in order, and we did get a prettily melodic piece that very nicely rounded up the evening.

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