The Coleman Chamber Concerts series presented the local debut of the Alexander String Quartet, a fine young ensemble based in Upstate New York, at Caltech's Beckman Auditorium Sunday afternoon.
The players--violinists Eric Pritchard and Frederick Lifsitz, violist Paul Yarbrough, cellist Sandy Wilson--project an appealingly warm, middleweight tone within the context of lively, unmannered interpretations. They would seem, however, to need some help in the critical area of program-building.
The afternoon began, predictably, with a classical work: Mozart's Quartet in D, K. 575. It was, less predictably, not treated as warm-up fodder. The ensemble came to it fully prepared, producing an interpretation marked by sweetness of tone and judicious balances, with the cello, true to Mozart's intention, subtly dominant.
A curiosity followed--the Southland premiere (and, one suspects, derniere) of the "Little" Quartet No. 2 by Sir Peter Maxwell Davies, five minutes of hangdog tremolo-pizzicato alternation that pass virtually unnoticed, to judge from the audience's reaction.