Not only the audience, but also the performers wanted to thank the organizer behind the Foundation for Advanced Education in the Sciences concert series, presenting her with a basket of flowers. Over the course of the last three Sunday afternoons at Bethesda's Congregation Beth El, the Cologne-based Auryn Quartett has presented a complete cycle of the Britten string quartets, as well as a complete cycle of the Mozart string quintets, with violist Roger Tapping. For an exceptionally reasonable ticket price, FAES presents many good concerts and, not infrequently, excellent ones like these.
For their final program, the group left the other late Mozart quintet, in D major, K. 593. It has an unusual first movement, in which a sphnixian, harmonically adventurous Larghetto section frames the Allegro. Mozart was experimenting at this point in his career with how far he could push tonal structures, and the Adagio also has a section in which extended harmonies give an almost modern character. The Auryn Quartett and Tapping played the Menuetto tenderly, with the odd pizzicato Trio made to stand out. They also allowed the weird finale theme -- "corrected" in the manuscript by hands other than Mozart's, changes that were not undone until musicologist Ernst Hess's 1960-61 article -- to ramble away to its slightly nutty conclusion.
Britten Quartets 2 /3 (1996)
|Auryn Quartett / FAES:|
Part One | Part Two
One concert remains on this season's schedule from FAES, an all-Beethoven recital by cellist Amit Peled and pianist Alon Goldstein (April 15, 4 pm). For next year's season, FAES has decided to scale back the number of concerts, but there are some very exciting events planned. In the fall/winter, pianists Richard Goode (October 14, 4 pm) and Alain Planès (December 9, 3 pm) will give recitals, which are both events to be marked on the calendar now.