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On the Radio

Tune your radio dial to 90.9 FM on Mondays at 9 pm to hear Front Row Washington, broadcasts of recent concerts in the area's concert halls. Here is the program of this evening's installment:

February 9, 9 pm
Hugo Wolf String Quartet
National Gallery of Art

I did not review this concert (too busy winning a new television at a neighbor's Super Bowl party -- really!), but here is a snippet from someone who did:

This relatively young, Vienna-based quartet has been generating a lot of buzz lately for its intensely characterful performances of the standard and not-so-standard repertoire. The buzz seems warranted: Opening with Schubert's precocious Quartet in E-flat, D. 87 (written when he was all of 16), they dug into it with utter seriousness, revealing unsuspected gravity in a work that, to these ears, has always sounded distinctly callow.

The composer Hugo Wolf (for whom the group, obviously, is named) is best known for his moody songs, but the "Italian Serenade" from 1887 may be one of his most playful works, full of deft irony and subtle jokes. Oddly and a bit disappointingly, the Wolf Quartet gave it a dark, unsmiling reading -- beautifully executed (despite the detail-smearing acoustics of the West Garden Court), but rather low on charm.
Stephen Brookes, Hugo Wolf Quartet (Washington Post, February 5, 2008)

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