By Tom Strini
June 9, 2014
Tom Strini Writes
Even the most avid fans of classical music might not know that Anton Bruckner wrote a string quartet. He did it in 1862, as a composition exercise with no thought of public performance.
The composer's intention did not stop the Fine Arts Quartet from playing it Sunday, on the second of four Summer Evenings of Music at UWM. The music proved to be of more than historical interest.
The Quartet in C minor is more conventional than Bruckner's epic, mystical symphonies. He was practicing traditional ways of structure, theme and development. The result sounds a rather like higher-calorie Mendelssohn, a comparison we could make directly given the presence of the latter's Quartet in D, Opus 44 No. 1, on this program.
Bruckner opened with busy themes densely harmonized. Violinists Ralph Evans and Efim Boico, violist Juan-Miguel Hernandez and cellist Robert Cohen somehow made the music transparent, so we could hear the ingenious interaction of the lines. In the second movement, Evans played a sprawling Brucknerian theme most eloquently as he parsed out complex phrases that don't readily jump up and sing.
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