Getting to the National Gallery of Art in the nick of time is not advisable. Especially not if you don't like the idea of getting roughed up by security guard L. Jones. After being barked at, accused of lying, having my ID inspected twice, my guest refused entry, and being held up long enough to assuredly miss the beginning of the Haydn "Emperor" Quartet, op. 76, no. 3, I got to listen to the remainder from behind the curtains outside the West Garden Court. On the other side played the Takács quartet.
Takács Marathon, Part II (October 17, 2005)
Takács Addiction (October 4, 2005)
Where's My Takács? (March 10, 2005)
Amazing Audial Alliteration: Borodin, Bartók, Beethoven (October 17, 2004)
Dip Your Ears, No. 8: Béla Bartók, The Six String Quartets, Takács Quartet (August 5, 2004)
Borodin's second quartet in D major I last heard a year ago when the Takács gave a moving rendition at the Corcoran the day after the Corcoran's Chairman of the Board, Otto J. Ruesch, had passed away. I haven't sat in the back of the NGA's venue in a while. It is a healthy corrective and reminder that the sound is not as bad as we often complain: it's much worse. The tubby accoustic turned the (avowedly excellent, as trustworthy sources with better seats assured me) Borodin into a mush that belied the quality of the source. I wonder if the William Nelson Cromwell and F. Lammont Berlin Concerts - despite a glorious and prestigious 64-year tradition at their present location - might ever be moved into the larger and more appropriate space of the NGA's East Building Auditorium.
L.v.Beethoven, Late String Quartets + op. 95,
Presto towards the finale. The Takács may be very good in the slow movements of op. 127, but they are superb when it gets a bit faster. (That's just one reason why it is nice to have a 'warmer' set of quartets next to the Takács - preferably the Vegh's second.) The finale itself sounded slightly rushed but lived up to the high expectations, still. The crowd met the performance with unanimous standing ovations.