Long-established chamber groups, such as Chicago’s Vermeer Quartet, go through creative ups and downs. Right now the Vermeer is riding high, with its interpretations and caliber of playing somewhat reminiscent of the Juilliard in the 70s. Part of the reason is the addition a couple of seasons ago of the German-trained second violinist Mathias Tacke, whose intense performing style and adventurous attitude toward the modern repertoire seem to spark his colleagues–violinist Shmuel Ashkenasi, violist Richard Young, and cellist Marc Johnson. No wonder the quartet’s latest CD of Haydn’s Seven Last Words of Christ–produced by Young for the Aldens Productions label–has caught the attention of the Grammy nominating committee: it’s a contender in the best-chamber-music-performance category. Not surprisingly the group has flourished as the flagship ensemble of Performing Arts Chicago, its local presenter for the past ten years. The program for this subscription recital is rather standard, but only the jaded would resist hearing a top-notch quartet tackle Brahms’s Quartet no. 1 in C Minor and Mendelssohn’s E-flat Major Quartet. The bonus here could be the seldom-performed Quartet no. 2 written in 1958 by Argentinean Alberto Ginastera. Sunday, 3 PM (a preconcert talk begins at 1:45 PM), concert hall, DePaul University, 800 W. Belden; 722-5463 or 663-1628. TED SHEN

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Joel Schachtel.