by Robert Rollin
On Sunday afternoon, June 18, Encore Chamber Music presented “Summer Tango,” an outstanding collaborative concert including the Jupiter and Cavani String Quartets and violinist Jinjoo Cho. The enthusiastic audience filled the small but opulent, wood-paneled room at Gilmour Academy’s Tudor House.
Astor Piazzolla studied composition with Alberto Ginastera and Nadia Boulanger, and his new tango style was controversial in Argentina. He even came to blows with a conservative “classic tango” dancer on national television.
A short tango tribute to Argentina’s southern hemisphere summer, the composer’s “Verano Porteño” from The Four Seasons of Buenos Aires employed all nine performers, featuring Cho as virtuoso soloist. She performed the challenging part with commanding poise, tossing off the lively glissandos with flair. Her lyrical second theme was beautifully expressive.
The ensemble’s performance of Johannes Brahms’ Sextet for strings in G was gorgeous, with a remarkably unified tone color and seamless exchange of ideas throughout.
The opening Allegro non troppo featured a beautiful first cello solo. After the lively Scherzo and a serene Poco adagio (where 4/4 meter finally appears), the final Poco Allegro featured sparkling solos in first cello and second violin.
The concert concluded with a dramatic performance of Dmitri Shostakovich’s Two Pieces for String Octet, Op. 11. The two quartets played the composer’s piquant dissonant counterpoint with superb ensemble and astonishing control.
Published on ClevelandClassical.com June 23, 2017.
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