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Gerald Carpenter: Takács Quartet to Perform at Lobero

The ensemble, in residency at the Music Academy, will play a Visiting Artists Recital on Thursday

Every established string quartet must solve — or fail to solve — for itself the basic problem of the ensemble: that most compositions for it are so intimate, private and self-contained as to render an audience irrelevant.

One doesn’t so much hear even a Ludwig van Beethoven quartet as overhear it, and taking a quartet out of the living room and putting it in the concert hall is always risky business. For 33 years, Budapest’s Takács Quartet — with Edward Dusinberre and Lina Bahn on violins, Geraldine Walther on viola and András Fejér on cello — has been meeting this challenge by playing with such extroverted and passionate accuracy as to involve everyone within earshot in the performance, and making the audience all honorary members of the ensemble. It works darn well.

The Takács Quartet, now beginning its annual residency at the Music Academy of the West, will play a Visiting Artists Recital at 8 p.m. Thursday, July 15 in the Lobero Theatre.

The quartet is scheduled to perform Franz Joseph Haydn’s String Quartet No. 55 in D Major, Opus 71 No. 2, Hob. III:70, Beethoven’s String Quartet No. 6 in B-Flat Major, Opus 18, No. 6, A Cool Wind by New Zealand composer John Psathas and Beethoven’s surprisingly cheerful last work in the form, his String Quartet No. 16 in F Major, Opus 135.

Haydn, who invented the string quartet, wrote 85 of them — every one a gem. Beethoven’s 16 quartets expanded the 18th-century form to the point where it could contain, without exploding, the entire 19th century.

Psathas was born in 1966, and is New Zealand’s most-performed composer. I have no idea what his music sounds like — some say it shows “the harmony and improvisational feel of jazz, the compelling rhythmic drive and excitement of rock music, and the sustained repetitive textures of minimalism” — but I am eager to find out.

The Takács Quartet will remain in residence at the Music Academy at least until July 20, when it will take part in a “Tuesdays at Eight” concert, and in the meantime will collectively lead a String Ensemble Master Class at 1 p.m. Friday, July 16 in Lehmann Hall.

Tickets for the Lobero concert are $40 and can be purchased at the Lobero box office, at 33 E. Canon Perdido St. or 805.963.0761, or from the Music Academy at 805.969.8787. Click here to order online.

— Gerald Carpenter covers the arts as a Noozhawk contributor. He can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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