Guarneri and Orion String Quartets

Over three remarkable decades, the Guarneri String Quartet has earned its place as one of the bearers of the chamber-string standard. Its members’ elegant playing and probing intelligence have yielded definitive interpretations of some of the most complex works in the classical canon. At this University of Chicago recital, the Guarneri elders team up with the relatively youthful Orion String Quartet for a program that contains nary an actual quartet. The Orion, now in residence at the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, is most certainly modeled on the Guarneri, but it has yet to achieve the same levels of artistry and teamwork. Its members will have to prove their mettle in three symphonically textured pieces fraught with interpretive challenges. In Mozart’s Viola Quintet in G Minor, Orion violist Steven Tenenbom and the Guarneri must convey underlying pathos and despair while negotiating a series of tricky rhythms. In Brahms’s String Sextet in G Major, the Guarneri plus Tenenbom and cellist Timothy Eddy are to deal with the harmonic tensions running through the composer’s bittersweet romantic confession. When the quartets double up for the Mendelssohn Octet in E-flat Major–a devilishly difficult, groundbreaking work the composer wrote at 16–they are expected to bring forth its energetic, playful nature with plenty of give-and-take. If they click, the music making could live up to the Guarneri’s exalted reputation. Friday, 8 PM, Mandel Hall, University of Chicago, 1131 E. 57th; 702-8068.


Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo by Christian Steiner.