Last Thursday (and Friday night), the Minetti Quartett (two “t’s”, since “Quartett” is part of their name and spelled the German way – as, for example, with the Hagen Quartett) graced the Austrian Embassy again – after their stunning appearance at the same place exactly one year ago. It remains, I am convinced, the Embassy Series’ finest discovery. “Even hearing them in minor works, one is inclined to take out shares on their future stardom” was my impression then, and nothing has changed since.
Along with the Jupiter, Dædalus, Ébène, and Parker String Quartets, the Minetti Quartett plays at a level hard to believe for any group, much less one that is still so (relatively) young.
Among these four groups, the players that make up the Minetti Quartett (Maria Ehmer - first violin, Anna Knopp - second violin, Markus Huber - viola, and Leonhard Roczek - cello) may be the most homogenous, impressing with cohesion and coherence. On Thursday (as on Friday), their program of Haydn (C Major, op.20, No.2) and Mozart (G Major, KV387) was cleaved by Berg’s String Quartet op.3. Amid lucid Haydn and driven, yet graceful Mozart, it was the searing performance of the Berg that stood out. Languid yet with the density and twisted, knotty structure this work needs, the Minetti Quartett proved once again that they are a musical force to be reckoned with and one of the finest, most sophisticated ways to hear string quartets performed.
[In the picture atop this post, considerably newer than the post itself, Milan Milojicic has already replaced Markus Huber on viola.]