Advertisement
YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

Music Review

In Schoenberg, an Exuberant Parisii Quartet

January 16, 2002|RICHARD S. GINELL | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

Though not officially a part of the Los Angeles Philharmonic's ongoing Schoenberg Prism series, the Parisii Quartet's program of Schoenberg, Berg and Webern at LACMA's Bing Theatre Monday night was, in its way, more absorbing than many of the higher-profile downtown Prism concerts.

Here, in the company of his two star students, Schoenberg could play the role of exuberant patriarch instead of the formidable, even forbidding, heir to Beethoven and Brahms. And with the help of some remarkable playing by the Parisian foursome, the listener could be immersed in this special sound world without distractions or side trips.

If you used your imagination, this program could bear a striking, self-contained resemblance to the typical everyday string-quartet lineup. The buoyant, tone-row-derived, yet classically organized textures of Schoenberg's String Quartet No. 3 was the equivalent of an opening piece by Mozart or Haydn, with the concentrated outbursts and mystical pianissimos of Webern's Five Movements, Opus 5, serving as the "radical" 20th century pre-intermission feature and Berg's impassioned Lyric Suite as the Romantic main course.

The quartet made its most moving impression in the Webern, giving the first movement a charged-up lift while producing magically still, deeply felt muted harmonies and flutterings later on, reaching down to the spiritual depths of the piece. With an assured, flowing approach, they made cogent structural sense of Schoenberg--notwithstanding a broken string that interrupted the performance 21/2 minutes into the first movement. And they found an unexpected rustic quality in the rhythms of the Lyric Suite's second movement, integrating the piece's rapidly shifting moods seamlessly.

Advertisement
Los Angeles Times Articles
|
|
|