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15.3.12

Takács Quartet

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Charles T. Downey, Takács Quartet at the Kennedy Center
Washington Post, March 12, 2012

available at Amazon
Beethoven, Late String Quartets, Takács Quartet


available at Amazon
Bartók, String Quartets,
Takács Quartet
The regular visits of the Takacs Quartet used to be one of the highlights of Washington’s cultural life, because the group played in a venue with some of the best acoustics for chamber music in the city, the auditorium at the Corcoran Museum of Art. The quartet was last there in 2008, and the Corcoran has since downsized its chamber music concert series into nonexistence, made official this season. In the past couple of years, the Takacs Quartet has tried out other venues in the area, never quite finding such a good match for its sound. Until Tuesday night, that is, when the group made its long-overdue debut on the Fortas Chamber Music series in the Kennedy Center Terrace Theater.

Being part of the “Music of Budapest, Prague and Vienna” festival at the Kennedy Center gave the esteemed quartet the excuse to play one of the Bartok string quartets, as if it needed one. There is no group, live or on disc, I would rather hear in these densely constructed, challenging, but rewarding pieces. The players attacked the Fourth Quartet with a bite in the tone but never overbearing harshness. [Continue reading]
Takács Quartet
Fortas Chamber Music Series
Kennedy Center Terrace Theater

Schubert, Quartettsatz (as recorded by the Brandis Quartet)

Bartók, String Quartet No. 4 (as recorded by the Keller Quartet, with video-cued score for study, an invaluable resource)

Beethoven, op. 131 (as recorded by the Takács Quartet)
This quartet famously opens with a fugue, sort of as an extended slow introduction to the second movement, which is a telescoped sonata form. Joseph Kerman speculates that the fugue, which explores all of six key areas Beethoven uses in the following movements, contains the kernel of all that follows: "Everything has been encompassed -- every tonality, every thematic implication, every harmonic nuance -- yet an infinity is kept in reserve. The sense of grip at the end of the Fugue seems to me dominant. This is a piece effortlessly in control of itself and effortlessly in control of its limited universe of tonal materials."

PREVIOUSLY:
Previous reviews (obsessive coverage) of the Takács Quartet at Ionarts

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