The sold out 330-seat

IHC Basile Theater witnessed an enthralling concert to close out Ensemble Music's

71st season--featuring a return of the Ying Quartet, this time with guest

cellist Zuill Bailey.  And,

as with the appearance of the Kuss Quartet a couple of seasons ago, a Schubert

masterpiece dominated this program, his Quintet in C for Strings, D. 956, with Bailey

adding a second cello to the quartet complement. 

Though I fondly recall the Kuss players' rendering of

Schubert's last string quartet, No. 15

in G, D. 887 -- an unheralded masterpiece because the work

had never been performed live at any concert I've attended, the C major Quintet

gets lots of performances. 

This was among the best I've witnessed.  Both the quartet and the quintet stand

among the pinnacles of chamber music, outranking all but Beethoven's late

quartets, in this correspondent's opinion.

Bailey, an ISO guest four times over the last decade, had

already proven himself a top-tier solo cellist in league with veteran Yo Yo Ma.  His playing within

Schubert's four movements proved himself a first ranking ensemble player as

well.  From the

first movement's bewitching second theme to the ethereally sublime E major slow

movement with its dark interior section, Bailey delivered a beautifully

burnished tone which both stood out and blended with his partners.  The contrasting, march-like third movement--with another dark interior section--was nicely phrased by

all our players.

In fact, this was as good an overall performance effort by

the Yings as I've heard over their several past visits under these auspices.  This despite the

fact that second violinist Jessica Lee, who played that position last November

with the Johannes Quartet, had replaced Janet Ying because of the latter's

recent shoulder surgery.  Otherwise the ensemble featured first

violinist Ayano Ninomiya, violist Philip Ying and cellist David Ying.  Their top notch ensemble

work dominated the Schubert as well as the earlier presented Schumann String

Quartet No. 2 in F,

Op. 41 No. 2, though the latter does not represent the composer at his best.

Bailey opened the program with one of Bach's solo cello

suites, No. 3 in C,

BWV 1009, but after the first movement stated that he would switch to the Cello

Suite No. 1 in G, BWV

1007, following a visit to and playing No. 1 at a children's hospital earlier

that day.  He

proceeded to play all of No. 1 again--tossing, as it were, No. 3 aside.  As all six of Bach's

creations are equally valued as the standard for solo cello, the change

mattered little.  May 6; Indiana History Center


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