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Montclair State University
" A performance demonstrating the greatest skill and subtlety" by Peter Williams
From The Hawks Bay Today (New Zealand)
Hawke?s Bay was privileged to be one of the only five centres to receive a visit from this
distinguished ensemble which has earned an enviable world-wide reputation for the
quality of both its live performances and its recordings.
Consequently there was a sense of expectation leading up to this concert. That this
anticipation was not misplaced was obvious from the first notes of the marvellous String
Quartet No 3 in F Opus 73 by Shostakovich, leading to a performance demonstrating the
greatest skill and subtlety.
The obvious technical freedom of each of these fine players, violinist brothers Weigang Li
and Yi-Wen Jiang, violist Honggang Li and cellist Nicholas Tzavaras, combining in the most
exquisite ensemble was captivating for the listener.
It was playing that drew out the essential character of each of the five contrasted
movements leading to the beautifully played final bars.
The inclusion of Chinese folk songs titled ChinaSong, which second violinist Jiang has
arranged, was a delight for the audience which obviously found instant appeal in the range
of distinctive melodies contained in the three contrasted movements depicting dance, a
pastoral scene and harvest celebration.
Much of the music stemmed from folk melodies originally played on simple traditional
instruments from the various regions of this vast country, skilfully transcribed for the
sophistication of the string quartet, but losing nothing in the translation.
The clarity, balance and intimacy of the playing highlighted the beauty and character of
this charming music.
In the final work, String Quartet in A Minor Opus 51 No 2 by Brahms, the players added an
expansive quality to their playing and very successfully projected the full sweep of the
romantic character of this music.
Again this superb individual solo quality of each of these players was evident, particularly
in the lyricism of the slow movement where the balance of interplay between solo line and
accompaniment was maintained to perfection.
The energy and rhythmic precision demonstrated in the dance-like character of the Finale
emphasised again the superb standard of this splendid ensemble, to end a truly
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