Singing Strings

Hannoversche Allgemeine Zeitung - (Hanover Daily Newspaper)
May 11, 2016
by Silja Meyer-Zurwelle

The Takács Quartet in the Christuskirche, Hanover

If Franz Schubert’s ‘Rosamunde’ Quartet were a vocal rather than an instrumental work, the Chamber Music Society could hardly have invited better interpreters than the Hungarian Takács Quartet. This ensemble, founded in 1975, is often heard in leading concert halls, such as the Wigmore Hall in London and the Carnegie Hall in New York. For this third concert in the Chamber Music Society’s ‘Classics ‘ series, the four artists took their place on the stage of the Christuskirche.

They began the evening with the song-like ‘Rosamunde’ work by Schubert, demonstrating the full singing power of their instruments. As they braved the reverberant acoustic of the Christuskirche – not entirely favourable to the intimate Schubert style, with its delicate scoring – it almost seemed as if the violins, viola and cello were an extension of the artists’ vocal chords. With this quartet ensemble, every note is given an intensive vibrato, filled with life, and spun onto the next.

In the opening Allegro ma non troppo, the conflict between the sighing minor-key theme and the surging second subject in the major key was showcased in a particularly dramatic way. In the second movement, the musicians presented the song melody from the stage work Rosamunde, the earlier work of Schubert that lent its name to this Quartet. The string-players fluently conjured up the contented mood of this movement. In the following dancing Minuet, as in the equally playful rondo finale, the artists did not just shape the music with a sense of movement, but were also visibly moved by it. The musical communication that resulted from their constant interaction was not only clearly audible, but also beautiful to watch.

With the Langsamer Satz, the slow movement for String Quartet by Anton von Webern, things turned passionate: the full sound of the Quartet unfolded particularly well in the church. The Takács Quartet ended the evening with Antonin Dvorák’s String Quartet in A flat major. Brimming over with folk dance tunes and polka melodies, it formed the energized, brilliant culmination of this concert.

© 2018 Takács Quartet