<< -- 2 -- Lawrence Budmen BRACING SCHOENBERG
The quartet's cellist Eckart Runge is also a highly gifted and imaginative arranger. His transcription of Suite del Angel by Astor Piazzolla (1921-1992) -- the father of Tango Nuevo -- is remarkable. Piazzolla often arranged his music for various combinations. The Runge transcription continues the composer's tradition of chamber jazz. Runge and his colleagues captured Piazzolla's inimitable combination of café music and Stravinsky style dissonant harmonics. The concluding movement 'La Muerta del Angel' is cast in the form of a fugue (Piazzolla definitely knew his Bach). The quartet delivered this music with no holds barred abandon. Violist Jacobsen -- a stellar presence throughout the concert -- played with great warmth and verve. The Artemis foursome offered a bracing rendition of a score that was both tantalizing and tragic. Music by a twentieth century master and a great performance!
In 1801-02 Ludwig van Beethoven transcribed his Piano Sonata No 9 in E Major for string quartet. The resulting String Quartet in F Op 14 No 1 sounds like a totally different work. The score abounds with the inner fire of early Beethoven. The melodic charm of this music takes wing when played with the virtuoso precision and sparkle that the Artemis foursome brought to it. The concluding Rondo: Allegro comodo had sparkle and lightness to spare. It was wonderful to hear this rare Beethoven arrangement played with such vigor and enthusiasm.
The Artemis Quartet deserves high marks for adventurous programming. Their sweeping performance of the Schoenberg quartet engendered a standing ovation from an appreciative audience. Here was a fervent performance of a unique score -- full blown musical romanticism at its twilight hour.