Haydn’s music made a fine calling card for the Belcea members. The group is uncommonly well balanced with the gleam and quicksilver virtuosity of first violinist Corina Belcea-Fisher matched by the lean brilliance of violinist Laura Samuel, violist Krzysztof Chorzelski, and cellist Antoine Lederlin. The dramatic bite was there, yet without overwhelming Haydn’s essential charm and airy grace, with a particularly affecting rendering of the Andante’s dream-like variations.
The Belcea’s taut bravura proved eminently well suited to this music [Prokofiev quartet no. 1], the group throwing off the frantic virtuosity with unbridled intensity, just as surely as they assayed the slow movement’s searching introspection.
The evening culminated in a memorable reading of Schubert’s Death and the Maiden Quartet. Here again, the group’s corporate refinement and ability to hold both the drama and lyricism in skillful balance were striking. Yet it was the Andante’s variations, which mine Schubert’s title song, that provided the highlight of the evening, rendered with a haunted, otherworldly expression that seemed entirely apt.
Lawrence A Johnson, South Florida Classical Review, 9 March 2009
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