First Review of the D’Amici String Quartet

Siegfried Burger, Tuttlingen, January 12, 2004, Schwarzwälder Bote

Matinée Concert in the City Concert Hall

It was the first attempt at a Chamber Music Matinée in the City Concert Hall and the ample attendance was proof of the interest of many music lovers.  Each of the members of the D’Amici String Quartet had accumulated considerable experience in other musical formations.  Two professors from the Music College in Trossingen, James Creitz and Sadao Harada, along with with the violinists Federico Agostini and Yosuke Kawasaki, who travel in from New York, constituated this new quartet.

The musicians chose Haydn ’s String Quartet, op. 50/6, “The Frog”, also known to insiders as the “Razorquartet,” to begin their first concert together.  It was already clear in the first measures that they are friends:  such precision and wonderful, warm and elegant ensemble sound can only be created if all four musicians are operating on the same wavelength.  The voices in this quartet from Haydn ’s middle period are all worked out in detail and thematically important. The Adagio and Menuett are harmonically audacious; the finale bubbles over with joy.  Who could not be enraptured by this work when given such a ravishing performance as by the D’Amici String Quartet?

The String Quartet in F by Ravel followed.  Just as the impressionistic painters found new ways to combine colors, the composers at that time discovered new, delicate and refined sound colors.  The relatively simple melodic elements seem exotic through the use of the tritone.  More important was their development and the new colourful environment using tremoli, arpeggios and pizzicatim, etc.

Beethoven ’s C Major Quartet, op. 59/3 followed the intermission.  Here Beethoven introduces us to a world of contrasts.  The Menuetto, in which scales pass seamlessly between the instruments was unbelievable.  The musicians took the “molto” in the finale very seriously and the repeated thematic eighth notes put pepper in the music.  Who was surprised when loud cheers and calls for an encore came from the public?  As an encore, we heard the last movement of Haydn ’s “Reiter” Quartet with the elegance to which we had become accustomed.