The Lincoln Friends of Chamber Music hosted the Diderot String Quartet on Tuesday evening at the Johnny Carson Theater in the Lied Center for Performing Arts. About 175 people enjoyed standards by Haydn and Beethoven.
Haydn’s “String Quartet in C major, Op. 20, No. 2” was up first, and the work would offer a good challenge for the quartet, which uses early Classical period instruments.
A venture into the first movement found the ensemble a little wooden but well prepared, offering a good sense of historical Haydn and music techniques of the time.
Perhaps the third and fourth movements were most interesting. Good phrasing and excellent fingering prevailed, and quartet articulation was superb.
Beethoven’s early “String Quartet in F Major, Opus 18, No. 1” was the first quartet the master wrote. Violist Kyle Miller told patrons of the ensemble’s dedication to “serious” quartet music, remaining true to stylistic parameters of the early Classical period.
Good attention to that 1820s style was evident in the performance techniques of the ensemble. The musicians were in their element with Beethoven, and their handling of the first quartet showed their education and technique.
Transparency was the key to clean sound and total cohesion for the Beethoven work. Especially in the last movement, where the three upper strings must meld together perfectly, the sound was excellent and Miller’s viola “glue” was just the perfect ingredient to make a beautiful quartet happen.
The first Beethoven “Razumovsky” quartet, Opus 59, no. 1, came after intermission.
Quartet members eyed one another constantly to keep communications going on starts and stops, giving the perfection required in phrasing this work. Excellent cello melody lines from Paul Dwyer drew smiles from the crowd.
Joy pervaded the Russian melodies in the final movement, and the Diderot Quartet just let loose and let Beethoven flow. It worked well, at least in the mind of patrons, who offered a standing ovation and extended applause.