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Schubert's great String Quintet in C D956 held pride of place when the Amernet players returned to the Wertheim Center stage on 10 November 2004. Written for one of the final Schubertiades -- the intimate salon concerts given by Schubert and his artistic circle of friends -- the quintet's instrumentation adds a second cello to the standard string quartet formation. The second movement Adagio is one of the most emotionally intense pieces ever to flow from Schubert's pen. This other worldly feast of inspiration was the artistic heart of the Amernet's performance. Joined by the award winning cellist Andres Diaz, the musicians played the movement with a rapt serenity that was interrupted by the smoldering outbursts of the movement's central episode. Vitenson's violin sang with almost vocal, lieder like authority. A moment of anguished beauty! In the opening Allegro ma non troppo, the musicians brought a Viennese grace and elegance to their phrasing and shaping of the composer's inspired melodies. Cellist Diaz played with an expressive warmth and subtlety that blended splendidly with the patrician artistry of the Amernet foursome. The Scherzo Presto received a vivacious, spirited rendition. The Old World charm of the trio section was played con amore. The concluding Allegretto had burning intensity with a powerful, dramatic coda. A superb performance of a divinely inspired masterpiece!

The Chilean born Diaz was First Prize winner of the 1986 Namburg International Cello Competition (in New York). The distinguished cellists Laurence Lesser and Colin Carr were among his teachers. He is former Associate Professor of Cello at Boston University and Co-Director of the Boston University Tanglewood Institute Quartet Program. Diaz is co-founder of the Diaz String Trio (along with Roberto Diaz, principal viola of the Philadelphia Orchestra, and Andres Cardenas, concertmaster of the Pittsburgh Symphony and director of the Pittsburgh Symphony Chamber Orchestra). Diaz plays a truly glorious instrument -- a 1698 Gofriller Cello.

By contrast Luigi Boccherini's String Quintet in C is light, airy entertainment music. What a delightful musical soufflé! Boccherini produces an endless stream of inspired melodies and felicitous instrumental writing. A quasi-operatic slow movement, a rousing Menuetto, and a spirited, quintessentially Italianate finale are high points of this wonderful string divertissement. Diaz (with his rich, glowing cello tone) and the Amernet players brought vigor and brio to this irresistible bon-bon. The five artists played this splendid score with precision, marvelously pure intonation, and an idiomatic fluency that alternately charmed and astounded! In this dedicated, musically intelligent performance, Boccherini's salon work was transformed into a minor masterpiece! A rarely heard musical sweet presented with protean artistry!

The Amernet players also offered Schubert's lyrical one movement Quartettsatz in C minor D703. All the feverish intensity and lyrical serenity of Schubert's mature chamber works are embedded in this striking vignette. From the very first bars, the Amernet players captured the emotional turmoil, soaring lyricism, and instrumental felicity that defined Schubert's genius. The clarity of each instrumental line was remarkable! Chamber playing on the highest artistic level!

The future performances of the Amernet String Quartet are highly anticipated. This ensemble's spacious tonal blend, musical intuitiveness, and finely etched performances are the mark of a rare group indeed! Their cultivated musicality brings distinction to a wide variety of scores and idioms. The Amernet are the newest shining jewel in South Florida's cultural crown!

Copyright © 23 November 2004 Lawrence Budmen, Miami Beach, USA



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