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The concert opened with the String Quartet in B flat, Op 64 No 3 by Franz Joseph Haydn -- one of that master's less familiar essays in that form. The score is pure Haydn at his best! From the soaring, melodic opening theme of the Vivace assai, this 1790 work is a treasure trove of inspired melodies, elegant and gracious instrumental writing, and well-manicured classicism. The American String Quartet's performance was beguiling. From the shining gleam of Winograd's violin at the outset to the stately warmth of the Adagio, the foursome offered great Haydn playing. They captured the country fiddle wit of the Menuetto: Allegretto as well as its courtly charm. The vivacity and sonorous beauty of the Finale: Allegro con spirito was the whipped cream on the cake -- a delightful performance!

The American String Quartet offered two rarely played scores by great creative artists -- Haydn and Shostakovich. Their magisterial collaboration with Yefim Bronfman on Brahms's masterpiece was a real event! Concerts on this level are rare in any season. Here was artistry of the highest order!

Copyright © 20 December 2003 Lawrence Budmen, Miami Beach, USA





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