The Jerusalem Quartet played with energy and expertise for a Sunday afternoon crowd at the Jorgensen Center for the Performing Arts.
They opened with Franz Joseph Haydn’s String Quartet in G Major, Op. 77, No.1. The first movement was lighthearted yet intricate. The second was more engrossing and dynamic, with rich slides and heavier impact.
Classical music is an extremely precise and disciplined genre, but the Israeli musicians gave enough power and emotion so that their performance seemed to be bursting at the seams of its artistic guidelines.
The quartet continued into the third movement, containing a barely restrained frustration. The climatic fourth was frantic, manic and contemplative. It was great to see the performers stop at the rests in the piece and then jump as it resumed. A single loud “woo!” went through the crowd at its satisfying conclusion.
First violin Alexander Pavlovsky presents an intensive burning flow, second violin Sergei Bresler an astute constrained focus, cellist Kyril Zlotnikov a blissful engagement and viola Ori Kam a confident, astute aloofness.
Béla Bartók’s String Quartet No.5 is a much more modern quartet with intense and fiery passion. It was aggressive and harsh and all the more beautiful for it. The spaces between the first few movements had the audience exhaling heavily.
The final movement was a piercing confusion of emotions wrapped around a cry for urgency. It was biting and terrifying. Then there were short, charming reprieves that quickly returned to energetic anxiety. The different movements borrowed and expounded upon passages from one another.
Antonín Dvorák’s “American Quartet” String Quartet in F Major, Op. 93, was warm and bright. It gives the listener feelings of pastoral sunshine and proud intensity. There were gentle and peaceful passages that felt like a spring morning.
The second movement was similar in feeling but a little more wistful and bittersweet. The music was steady and level, with the violins crying out prominently. It faded into a settled, noncommittal ambiguity.
The third was bright before the climatic fourth: lively, energetic, slowing and building. It was more frantic as it evolved but constantly tempered with melodic pride. After its finish, the audience gave a long standing ovation.
Their encore was steady and controlled, inviting and alive. It played like a witty conversation between old friends.
“They were very in tune with each other, which is very important for a string quartet,” said Joey Fong, fifth-semester political science and economics major. “They provide a virtuosic, soloist literature spread amongst four voices.”
Christopher McDermott is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.