Lincoln Friends of Chamber Music patrons were treated to a good, connected playbill presented by the Attacca Quartet at the Johnny Carson Theatre on Friday.
It was billed as “all Beethoven” but not just the composer’s works. Carolyn Shaw’s 2016 work “Blueprint” and the stunning Felix Mendelssohn “String Quartet in A minor, Op. 13,” both rely heavily on Beethoven’s compositions and techniques.
The Shaw piece reworks thematic material from Beethoven’s late “Quartet No. 15, Opus 132.” For a portion of the piece, Shaw inverts phrases to the low strings and adds pizzicato in the violins, an interesting play for the ears.
Mendelssohn’s “String Quartet in A minor, Op. 13” is just as infused with Beethoven’s influences. The Attacca Quartet showed its pathos in executing the emotional passages in the first movement.
The second movement featured a magical violin opening from Amy Schroeder. The movement was warm and wonderful.
While the final movement starts with a violin recitative, the composition evolves into some intense ensemble playing. All quartet members were eyeing one another for cues and dynamic nuances. The house offered strong applause.
The “Quartet in A minor, No. 15” of Beethoven was last. It was filled with fabulous intimate expressions from the ensemble, including a marvelous first-movement cello solo from Andrew Yee.
After skillful phrase-bantering in movement two, the third movement’s opening slow viola solo from Nathan Schram stood out as exceptional. The quartet moved into Beethoven’s luscious chordal writing with perfect intonation.
Stalwart attacks on movement four made for a coordinated tight emphasis. It led to the taxing final movement, but the Attacca Quartet showed little sign of fatigue.
The quartet kept up the drive with strong playing, including perfect pitches in the highest instrument registers. The crowd offered solid applause for three well-played works.