Beethoven”s mysterious “Immortal Beloved,” Antonie Brentano, to whom Beethoven wrote his famous love confession, inspired not only the name of the Brentano Quartet, but the beginning of Beethoven”s magical harmonic notes.
From stunning appearances at the Royal Festival in London, to Frankfurt, Rome, and Milan, the quartet once again enthralled a captive audience at Rackham this past Sunday. Its players: Mark Steinberg and Serena Canin, violinists Misha Amory, violist and Nina Marie Lee, cellist, are each acclaimed soloists. However, together they compose a magnificent intertwined sound.
Beginning with Hadyn”s “String Quartet in A Major,” the Brentano Quartet captively displayed its brilliant range, as the ensemble smoothly moved from light, airy allegros to more distinct abrupt moves of an adagio. Although the repertoire of the program looked like the typical works to be performed by a quartet with pieces from Wourinen, Mozart and Stravinsky, the Brentano”s energetic spontaneity brought a fresh new vitality to these classic pieces.
The four artists, playing with romantic and classical poise, also moved harmonically together along with the music. With dramatic shifts and unexpected pauses not only in the tone production but in the fluidity of the scholars” rhythmic bodies, the Brentano clearly creates four distinct characters, yet they combine as though performing a dance.
Known for their stylistic elegance and technical brilliance, the Brentano has received three major musical awards, winning the Cleveland Quartet Award, the Naumburg Chamber Music Award, and the Martin E. Segal Award.
Ending the evening”s performance with “Mozart”s String Quartet in C Major,” the piece began with a slow solid basis, which then contrasted with the light-hearted air the remainder of the piece held. With contrasts in dynamics and harmonic excursions, the singing instruments of the Brentano truly created an image of a dance, coming alive before the audience”s eyes, with an amazing energy and an ever-changing mood.