For its final season concert Saturday night, the Sheldon Friends of Chamber Music introduced patrons to the Amernet String Quartet, an ensemble in residence at Florida International University in Miami.
And the Amernet Quartet introduced the 125 patrons at the Abbott Gallery in the Sheldon Museum of Art to Steven Gerber's String Quartet No. 6 – a live world premiere, although the work has been recorded.
Two other works were on the playbill – the Haydn String Quartet in G, Op. 77, No. 1 was up first. After intermission, the taxing Brahms String Quartet in C Minor, Op. 52, No. 1 concluded the concert.
Gerber’s new quartet is quite approachable. Its tonalities are enjoyable and well conceived. The ensemble gave it a strong, well-declaimed playing. Even in the second movement’s complex rhythms, unity reigned.
Unfortunately, the composer, who was supposed to be present, was kept away, ill with cancer. Hopefully the NET recording of Saturday's concert can be shared with him.
The familiar Haydn quartet got a good play. It took a few measures at the beginning for everything to sync, but once in place, the quartet maneuvered well through the opening theme.
Amernet laced the second adagio movement with plenty of sweet taffy to pull it off. Good group communication assured group cohesion.
The light minuet led to plenty of interplay in the concluding presto movement. The ensemble again maintained communication and precision to present an excellent rendering of this Haydn warhorse.
The Brahms quartet was the cap on the evening’s perfection. Good attention to the many tempo changes and plenty of ensemble energy assured a smooth passage through the opening allegro movement and the “Romanze” movement that followed.
By the end of the concluding allegro, there were smiles on the faces of performers and audience alike. All knew -- and many audience members remarked about -- the warmth of the ensemble and the accessibility of the Gerber work.