Manchester hosted a thrilling concert by the young four, says AndrewMRosemarine
A TASTE OF JERUSALEM The Jerusalem Quartet Manchester Chamber Concerts Society Manchester M13
WHAT AN evening! Such verve and drama!
Together since 1993, the Jerusalem Quartet is probably the most talented young quartet in the world. Jerusalemborn violist Amichai Grosz, and Minskborn cellist Kyril Zlotnikov, lead their respective sections in Daniel Barenboim’s Arab-Israeli West-Eastern Divan Orchestra. The two violinists, Alexander Pavlovsky and Sergei Bresler, both Ukranian-born, studied together in Jerusalem.
From the stirring opening notes of Beethoven’s Quartet in F major op 18 no 1 at the beginning of this concert in Manchester, to its end with Brahms’ Quartet in A minor op 51 no 2, they played passionately and in striking unison. If only all of Israel was as unified. When their bows ascended, all together, high into the air at the end, they stayed there. The audience, captivated by their intense musical expression, was stunned by the theatricality.
The Beethoven second movement, inspired by the tomb scene in Romeo and Juliet, was so sorrowful that even its prolonged silences cried out with grief. The next movement metamorphosed into a scherzo, which overflowed with happiness.
But an even greater transformation came with Israeli Tzvi Avni’s 1962 work, misleadingly-named Summer Strings. Its menacing dissonances evoked a horror-film’s lugubrious score. But it displayed the Jerusalem Quartet’s versatility, and entertained as a macabre nightmare.
Schubert’s Quartet Movement in C minor D. 703 was so delightfully lyrical that one wanted to sing along. The Brahms was intensity itself. Amichai Grosz got so transported by it that his heels pounded the floor at one point. Kyril Zlotnikov played with exuberance, often smiling, sometimes with furrowed brow, always absorbed and expressive. Alexander Pavlovsky and Sergei Bresler charmed and sparkled.
Even those who had never heard chamber music were converted to its pleasures.