The Indiana-based Chester String Quartet, which made its local debut two seasons ago as an 11th-hour substitution on the Music Guild series, returned to the Wilshire Ebell Theatre on Wednesday as a scheduled attraction, reinforcing the positive impression made earlier.
Still, there were problems--largely attributable to the inordinate length (and delayed starting time) of the program, which mitigated to some extent the impact of an agile, intelligent traversal of Schubert's massive C-major String Quintet, which brought the exhausting evening to a close.
Haydn's wistful Quartet in D minor, Opus 42, may have been too low-key an opener to calm an audience which unaccountably seemed more restless than is the rule at Music Guild events. Under any circumstances, the Chesters--violinists Nicolas Danielson and Susan Freier, violist Ronald Gorevic, cellist Thomas Rosenberg--played this fragile, subtle work with optimum sweetness and, appropriately, lightness of tone.
Memories of Haydn's subtle balances and effortless structural perfection were blown away by Grieg'sQuartet in G minor, a cartload of strong melodic ideas in search of a coherent structure, which the Chesters were--not to their discredit--unable to provide.