REVIEW: (HT Kuss Quartet) Auer Hall offers enjoyment, times 3

Music Review: Three concerts

Auer Hall offers enjoyment, times 3

By Peter JacobiH-T Reviewer
November 13, 2012

This is about a Sunday in Auer Hall at 4, 6 and 8 p.m.

At 8,

Almost under the radar came the Kuss Quartet, all the way from home base Berlin to play a wonderful recital of Haydn, Janacek and Schubert. As when other top-notch chamber ensembles come to exhibit their talents, Auer Hall should have been filled. It wasn’t, meaning word didn’t get around, meaning quite a few chamber music zealots missed out.

The ensemble’s way with Haydn F-Sharp Minor Quartet, Op. 50, No. 4, had spunk and Viennese lilt. One could discern almost immediately that the musicians — violinists Jana Kuss and Oliver Wille, violist William Coleman and cellist Mikayel Hakhnazaryan — are a real team. The playing was immaculate, and the introduced nuances announced clearly that these four musicians were of a merged interpretive mind.

Leos Janacek’s remarkable String Quartet No. 1 was inspired by Tolstoy’s story, “The Kreutzer Sonata,” about a man murdering his wife over her affair with a violinist who, with her, performed the Beethoven sonata of that name. Janacek’s music is sometimes subtly shaded, often jarring, atmospherically nervous, intense, dramatic, with a sonic mantle of mystery. All of that was captured in the Kuss Quartet’s feverish and deftly structured reading.

Schubert’s G Major Quartet, D. 887, his last, breathes both grandeur and sadness in its earlier movements, only to turn amiable and bustling in the Scherzo and good-humored in the closing Allegro assai. The full journey takes almost 50 minutes, quite a trip for musicians. The Kuss’ journey through it was passionate yet controlled, exciting yet also introspective, in all enveloping.

These musicians should be invited back.

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