The Norton Building Concert Series in Lemont hosted the Ariel Quartet on Sunday October 15 in a concert spanning 150 years of string quartet repertoire.
The quartet, Alexandra Kazovsky and Gershon Gerchikov, violins, Sergey Tarashchansky, viola, and Amit Even-Tov, cello, recently won the Grand Prize at the Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition, one of the most prestigious music contests in the world.
The concert opened with Haydn's Quartet in F from 1799.The performance immediately introduced the audience to the dramatic nature of the group, musically able with a very intense physicality.
The latter was most obvious in the cello playing of Even-Tov whose bow often resembled a weapon.
The performance, however, seemed enhanced by the quartet's immersion in the music and their feverish internal communication.
The music of Haydn became transparent, with quartet reduced sometimes to contrasting duets and individual passages shining with the support of trio.
The second movement minuetto was simply dazzling and the stately violin/cello opening of the andante transformed to majestic quartet, produced an incredibly immaculate soft ending.
Shostakovich's 1949 String Quartet No. 4 came next.
The group's versatility shown through in this "screaming" composition.
The finale's pizzicato elements neatly wove into a dance resulting in a lonesome cello ending which Even-Tov handled brilliantly.
The final piece on the program was Brahm's a minor Quartet written in 1873. The passion of the Ariel Quartet took on a different tone from the music of Shostakovich as Kazovsky assumed first chair from the very able Gerchikov and added a feeling of pathos to the sound of the group.
Tarashchansky's viola continuously emerged from the texture showing a broad range of feeling.
This music illustrated the wide range of the quartet's talent and the accelerated finale gave the performance a spectacular ending.
by D. J. LUKSETICH