On March 15, under the auspices of the Bach Festival Society Guest Artist Series, the Takács Quartet plus a piano played a varied concert of Schubert, Ravel and Shostakovich in Tiedtke Hall at Rollins College.
Opening with a familiar and amiable Schubert song melody, the quartet charmed the audience in the composer’s Quartettsatz in C minor, a one-movement work that Schubert never finished.
Maurice Ravel’s String Quartet in F major provided an inventive workout in the pentatonic scale. Chordal beauty was present galore in this piece, which never ventures into high dramatics, but gives the hearer plenty of innovative glimpses of delicate fancy along the way.
The quartet was augmented in the concert’s second half by the presence of fine pianist Garrick Ohlsson, who played the keyboard part in Dmitri Shostakovich’s Piano Quintet in G minor.
This five-movement quintet contains many references to Shostakovich’s 5th Symphony, and is quite often a loud, bangy, exclamation of simple high drama. Bach’s influence on Shostakovich is clearly evident in both the architecture and the fine delicate ornaments in the piece. The Shostakovich Quintet ended in a quiet, sweet, good-natured mood by tying all loose ends peacefully together in G major.
The evening’s playing, both from strings and piano, was little short of sensational, and left no doubt in the audience’s mind that five great individual performers were cooperating to create an unforgettable occurrence.