Fine Arts Quartet/Quintet closes summer season
A wistful, even sombre note closed the Fine Arts Quartet’s summer season Wednesday (June 29), at the UWM Zelazo Center.
For me, a Fine Arts Quartet concert begins with MSO emeritus Stephen Basson’s pre-talk. In a thorough examination of Mozart’s G minor works, Basson set the stage for the highlight of the concert – Mozart’s Quintet in G minor, K 516. He noted that the quintet opens on a sorrowful note, descending into deeper tragic sections until a contrasting conclusion. Critics refer to “searing pain .. despair .. fatalism” throughout the work.
The concert opened with a fast-paced, tightly executed String Quintet in C Major, Opus 88, by Joseph Haydn’s younger brother Michael. The work begins with a light dance, often led by first violinist, Evans. The pace occasionally slows, but only to catch a breath before picking up again. Evans and violist Eugelmi share a melody in the second movement. The first violin echoes phrases begun by the viola. Elements are deconstructed until the violin reassembles the entire melody to extend the cycle. Thomas supported the pleasant game of toss with a basso continuo role in the cello. After another third movement dance, the finale starts with a rush. Almost immediately, the players shift into an even faster pace. This whirlwind remains light-hearted as players exchange themes, suggesting perpetual motion until the abrupt conclusion.
The international reputation of the Fine Arts Quartet is less recognized in Milwaukee. Historically, a small, loyal audience has followed group. Last season and through the summer, donors have arranged free admission to Fine Arts Quartet concerts, and the audience has about doubled. Further support has assured free admission to concerts through the 2011-12 season. Stephen Basson will continue pre-concert talks through then, as well. Call the UWM Peck School of the Arts box office, 414 229-4308 or see the website for more information.