The second installment of the Washington concert appearances by Ionarts favorite the Takács Quartet, following a beautiful concert at Wolf Trap last October, was at the Corcoran Gallery of Art on Friday night. It was a closely matched program (the same one they played at Carnegie Hall the night before), intended really to be Part 2 to the Wolf Trap concert, but offered as a benefit concert on behalf of the Corcoran's Musical Evening Series.
The group opened with a Haydn quartet (op. 74, no. 2), following up on op. 74, no. 1, at Wolf Trap. Their Haydn this time was jolly, reflected in the sunny, sharp tone of Edward Dusinberre's first violin. The group set the tempo of the first movement (Vivace) one notch too fast, catching the viola a little unawares, at its solo moment transitioning to the second theme (an issue resolved in the repeat of the exposition). The second movement, a graceful theme with variations set at just the right pace, featured lovely, pensive solo playing from the two remaining Hungarian founding members of the quartet, cellist András Fejér and second violinist Károly Schranz. The third and fourth movements returned to the light-hearted mood, with a cheery menuetto and a finale in the spirit of a country reel.
Haydn (op. 76)
Brahms, op. 51
In no. 5 once again, it was the quartet's unity that impressed as it rocketed through the vast palette of colors -- folk songs hummed in the night, a perverse tango, barbaric yapping, machine-gun unisons, in the first movement alone. Forms crystallized beautifully, like the chiasmic return of the pure and sad folk recitative in the first violin that opens and closes the second movement. The lopsided Bulgarian dance of the third movement contrasted with the insect and frog calls growing to an angry buzz in the fourth. The fifth movement, opening starkly and driving furiously to its end, capped an extraordinary performance.
Tom Huizenga, Takács Quartet (Washington Post, February 25)
Dean Bevan, Takács Quartet’s communication leads to sensitive performance (Lawrence (Kans.) Journal-World, February 19)
The closest that the Takács Quartet's third program -- with Haydn's op. 74, no. 3, and the third Brahms quartet -- will get to Washington is the Pittsburgh Chamber Music Society (April 28, 8 pm), which also includes the Franck Piano Quintet with Jean-Yves Thibaudet. Road trip, anyone? The next, equally anticipated concert at the Corcoran features the Jupiter Quartet (March 28, 8 pm).