Stage Review: Concerts International season opens with 'sumptuous' performance

The American String Quartet's elegant and expressive style was a delight Tuesday night in its concert at the Buckman Performing Arts Center.

This opening performance of the 41st Concerts International season was entirely traditional, offering some of the most notable quartet works by Haydn, Dvorák and Beethoven.

The players embraced the pieces as they would old friends, performing with precision, eloquence and subtlety. Haydn, who it seems is an overwhelming favorite of quartet players worldwide, composed dozens of string quartets. Tuesday's opening work, the composer's Quartet in G Major, Op. 54, No. 1, is a splendid, energetic work with ample doses of Haydn's wit and inventiveness.

The second piece was Dvorák's Quartet in E-flat Major, Op. 51, richly imbued with the composer's Slavic heritage. The audience did not quite start doing the polka in the aisles, but the stirrings were there.

Ending the concert was a performance of Beethoven's Quartet in F Major, Op. 59, No. 1, which was a thing of grandeur and beauty. It's not unlike losing oneself in an extraordinary work of art such as a Rembrandt etching. The Beethoven provides glimpses into brilliance, where within a structure there are surprising and creative journeys.

And so the performance of the American String Quartet made the most of what these classics offered, an exacting and sumptuous performance that will be well-remembered.

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