MANCHESTER – Taconic Music musicians revealed virtuosity and musical depth in string quintets by Beethoven and Mendelssohn Saturday in the Riley Center for the Arts at Burr and Burton Academy. This was the third of four in Taconic Music’s Summer Concert Series, Vermont’s first indoor concerts since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Felix Mendelssohn’s String Quintet No. 2 in B-flat Major, Op.87 is one of the “war horses” of the chamber music repertoire. It demands both an extroverted virtuosity as well as sensitivity. Taconic’s performance by violinists Zachary DePue and Joana Genova, violists Amadi Azikiwe and Ariel Rudiakov, and cellist Nathaniel Parke was certainly charismatic. (Genova and Rudiakov are founders and artistic directors off Taconic Music.)
Their playing matched the driving passion of the music in the outer movements; light and lyrical in the scherzo; and tenderly luscious in the Andante. And DePue delivered the virtuosic first violin part with flair.
Less known is Ludwig van Beethoven’s String Quintet in C Major, Op. 29, “The Storm,” Classical in nature but with hints of a world to come, it mixes charm and drama, and becomes exciting before it is over.
Saturday’s expert performance — with violists switching chairs — delivered all those qualities. Particularly inviting was the lovely lyrical performance of the Adagio molto espressivo, and it was off to the races for the final Presto. Again, DePue, despite some shaky intonation at the beginning, enjoyed the virtuosic first violin part. The entire one-hour concert was a pleasure.
Taconic’s indoor concerts are carefully choreographed to meet the state’s COVID-19 rules. Admission is limited to 50 reserved places in a 250-seat hall, and masked audience members are appropriately distanced. The musicians are masked and follow their own protocols. For those who cant’ make it, the concert is live-streamed.
Taconic Music’s Summer Concert Series is an oasis in the COVID-19 summer desert. And we are thankful.
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