The Amernet String Quartet, FIU’s Ensemble-in-Residence, performed alongside esteemed violist Michael Tree of the Guarneri Quartet, in a program of works by Mozart, Dvorak, and Janacek for the Sunday Afternoons of Music Series on January 12th. Writer Lawrence Budman of South Florida Classical Review offers his critique.
While Tree played second viola in the two chamber scores, his distinctive sound shone in the opening solo of Dvorak’s String Quintet in E-flat Major. One of the last works from the Czech master’s 1890s American sojurn, the quintet is replete with nostalgia for Dvorak’s homeland as well as hints of the Indian and African American themes that he believed would form the basis of an authentic American national music. The players took the opening Allegro non tanto at a rapid clip, the principal theme strongly reminiscent of Dvorak’s “American” String Quartet.At the movement’s conclusion, the melody was played in contrasting slow tempo, the soft ending subtly shaded. An incisive rendition of the Allegro vivo sparkled with the unbridled energy of a Czech dance. In the contrasting central episode, Michael Klotz’s lean and nuanced viola playing conveyed the music’s sentimental aura.
Dvorak’s slow movements offer some of his finest writing. The solemn melodic line of the Larghetto was reinforced by the duo violas’ deep well of tone. In the brief fast section, the players’ hairtrigger intensity was even more dramatic. Eschewing speed, the players brought grace and wit to the charming finale with Jason Calloway’s nimble cello adding a sparkling bass line.
The concert opened with Mozart’s String Quintet No. 1 in B-flat Major. This score is early Mozart, melodious with surprising twists and curves; the stormy development section of the first movement in a minor key one of many unexpected surprises. Klotz’s dark sonority commanded numerous solo passages amidst a high-energy reading. Violinists Misha Vitenson and Marcia Littley shaped the principal melody of the Adagio elegantly over the chordal lines of the lower strings. A brightly energetic finale fizzed with comic opera brio.
To read the full review, click here.
On Thursday, January 30th at 7:30pm, the Amernet String Quartet, FIU’s Ensemble-in-Residence, will be joined by pianist Heather Coltman as part of its annual series at FIU’s College of Architecture + The Arts | Miami Beach Urban Studios with a concert of works by Jewish composers, in honor of International Holocaust Remembrance Day. The program will feature the monumental piano quintet by Erich Wolfgang Korngold and the premiere of Michael Shapiro’s Yiddish Quartet.
On Tuesday, February 4th at 7:30pm, they will be joined by cellist Edward Arron, violinist Gary Levinson, & violist Rose Griffin for an exciting program of Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto #4, Mozart’s Quintet in G-minor, K. 516, Glazunov’s Quintet in A-minor, and Shostakovich’s Two Pieces for String Octet to be held in the Herbert and Nicole Wertheim Performing Arts Center.
For tickets, click here.