Calidore String Quartet & Wu Qian at Alice Tully Hall – Haydn, Mendelssohn & Brahms

String Quartet in C, Op.20/2
Piano Quartet in B-minor, Op.3
String Quartet No.3 in B-flat, Op.67

Calidore String Quartet [Jeffrey Myers & Ryan Meehan (violins), Jeremy Berry (viola) & Estelle Choi (cello)] with Wu Qian (piano)


Reviewed by: Susan Stempleski

Reviewed: 10 July, 2022
Venue: Alice Tully Hall, Lincoln Center, New York City

Things got off to a bright start with a crisp and lively performance of the innovative second of Haydn’s ‘Sun’ String Quartets. Estelle Choi’s rendering of the cello solo, which opens the piece, was particularly graceful, and all four players displayed a congenial warmth throughout. The slow ‘Capriccio’ second movement came off with a fine display of improvisational flare, but the group was most impressive in the fugal Finale, performed with sufficient modulation to keep ears attentive until the surge in volume at the end.

Mendelssohn came next, and Wu Qian’s acutely flexible sense of stylistic appropriateness was perfectly suited to the composer’s early (written at age sixteen) B-minor Piano Quartet. The string-players were consistently fluent, playing the slow movement with exceptional charm, and exhibiting an alluring exuberance in both the delicately scored Scherzo and the harmonically intriguing Finale.

A warm and vivid account of Brahms’s magisterial B-flat String Quartet, full of lyricism and dramatic intensity, ended the program. The musicians’ flawless intonation and meticulous attention to the score’s dynamic markings produced wonderfully clear and characterful results. Jeffrey Meyers’s delivery of the violin melody in the slow movement was especially elegant.

 An encore was offered: an expressive and sensitive reading of the Adagio of Beethoven’s E-flat Quartet, Opus 74, nicknamed the ‘Harp’.

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