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Sometimes you only need one: The Moscow Quartet’s Shostakovich

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Moscow Quartet/Perelman Theater/Sunday, Nov. 8, 2009

The women of the Moscow Quartet conquered a full house at the Kimmel’s Perelman Theater Sunday afternoon (11.8.09) on the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society series. Ignat Solzhenitsyn took off his maestro hat and sat down at the Steinway and joined them for the Quintet in G minor, Op. 57 (1940) of Dmitri Shostakovich.

The Moscow Quartet has since 1997 been in residency at the University of Colorado in Denver. (Their love affair with Colorado goes back six years earlier.) The ensemble has a Rocky Mt. boldness. Their authority has more to do with their heroes, of course:  the Borodin Quartet. Regardless, these are the qualities that strike you. The women aren’t averse to emotion and the sensitivity conveyed by the leadership of first violin Eugenia Alikhanova is astute. Alikhhanova’s tone is almost ethereal when it needs to be. The Fugue which she starts, muted. as voices layer, over each other, was an exceptional series of moments.. Olga Ogranovich, the cellist, conveys brio just striding on stage an energy that her bow arm maintains. The inside strings share a surname: Kokhanovskaya, (Galina: violin) (Tatiana: viola) sisters by blood or marriage. There was no doubting the kinship these players felt for the G Minor quintet and the excitement sensed from Solzhenitsyn behind them at the keyboard.

“I’ve heard enough, I can go home now!” said Fanchon Apfel after the brilliantly executed quintet. The longtime supporter of the society was pleased. She stayed of course.

The Beethoven Quartet in F Minor, Op, 95 ( Quartetto serioso ) (1810) came after. It had a maverick reading and a heavier sensibility, the emotion more overt.But this is why we go to concerts, why live music always has the edge. One needs to see and hear and feel the contemporary artist’s take on any masterwork. The soil and soul of music cannot be easily separated no matter how universal we call this language of tones. Brava Moscow Quartet for brave and thoughtful interpretations. Bravo Ignat, whose piano found the music’s pain and circus swells, its enormous joy. As finale,  the Moscow offered Shostakovich’s familiar Elegy and Polka (1931) whose parts are known in many versions, the rollicking pizzicatos of the Polka included in the ballet The Age of Gold. </em>

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Written by Lesley Valdes

November 11, 2009 at 10:03 pm

Posted in Music

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