"Three and a half stars
Christel DeHaan Fine Arts Center; March 26.
When Gabriel Faure, the man for whom Maurice Ravel wrote his String Quartet in F, saw the score, he essentially called it a failure. Yet today, this piece, with its rhythmic complexities, exquisite lyricism and exotic harmonies, is a staple of chamber music repertoire. Ravel’s writing in this piece is intrinsically magical, and I was happy to hear that magic being brought out, particularly in second violinist Patrick Dalton-Holmes’ poignant and lush playing. Peter Hansen’s String Quartet in E was a thoroughly enjoyable piece, and one that I could not predict. I thought I knew where a phrase was going, and Hansen took it elsewhere, to a completely different, and better, place than one would have imagined. Unfortunately, the piece was at times blemished with pitch issues, and at many times you could not hear the viola. The program opened with Paul Hindemith’s String Quartet no. 7, mixing modern tonality with neo-Baroque compositional style. At times the quartet seemed disjunctive, yet I wonder if I simply wasn’t fully grasping Hindemith’s complex and clever rhythmic ideas.