Presented by CAMA. At the Lobero Theatre, Sat., Nov. 11.
For the first installment of its Masterseries at the Lobero, CAMA presented the Juilliard String Quartet, the members of which delivered an exquisite performance last Saturday, featuring the renowned foursome’s first female member, cellist Astrid Schween. Beginning with Franz Joseph Haydn’s Quartet in D Major, No. 5, the group handled the hyperactive movement’s trills and intricate gestures with impeccable attention. Also noteworthy was the fiery passion of violinist Joseph Lin’s playing style, which was almost an entity of its own.
The focal point of the evening was an unparalleled rendition of Bartók’s chilling Quartet No. 5. Formidable in scale and theme, the piece requires unusual bowing techniques and fragmented melodies that tell a grotesque narrative. Each one of the piece’s five unique movements carries qualities of its predecessor, and the concept of a cycle is present from the beginning. Although each section represents a dark aspect of human emotion, it was refreshing to see each player smile throughout the piece and offer one another reassuring eye contact despite the somber nature of the music.
Finishing with Dvořák’s Quartet No. 11 in C Major, the group approached each movement with delicacy, particularly Schween, whose gentle physicality complemented the piece’s inherent grace.