Aeolus Quartet Performs Mozart and Beethoven

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The Aeolus Quartet returned to Trinity after their previous performance in fall 2016 to play music of Mozart and Beethoven on Monday. The young, award-winning quartet is made up of Nicholas Tavani on first violin, Rachel Shapiro on second violin, Caitlin Lynch on viola, and Alan Richardson on cello. All are graduates of the Cleveland Institute of Music and were the 2013-2015 Graduate Resident String Quartet at the Juilliard School. They call New York City their home.

The evening began with Mozart’s Adagio and Fugue, an atypical piece of Mozart, featuring an intimate first movement with a haunting, furious, and uneasy theme in the fugue. The group tackled the complexity well, with Mr. Richardson adding particularly rich texturing in the bass.

The next piece on the program was Beethoven’s String Quartet in F Major Opus 18 no. 1. Though published as his first string quartet, Beethoven still finds ways to assert his unique style of rhythmic inventiveness and harmonic dissonance. All members executed the sublime second movement with tender understanding, the drunken Scherzo with humor and spontaneity, and Mr. Tavani led the group with a firm statement of the theme in the wonderfully straightforward last movement.

Beethoven’s Opus 131 quartet in C# minor, the last work in the program, is a total leap from the Classicism of the Opus 18 quartet. It is structured in seven movements, rather than the four of Opus 18, already a revolutionary framework for a piece. In a greater sense, the work’s introspection in slow movements, and rigor and jollity in the faster ones, give us a window into the heart and mind of a deaf composer, isolated from the world around him but still fighting to find joy. The quartet’s ability to communicate with their audience became obvious in the fifth movement, a Scherzo (“Joke”), during which one could hear members of the audience rightly sniffle and chuckle at the quirky pizzicato in all instruments. The combination of this young ensemble’s maturity and humor results in convincing interpretations and an obvious love for music.


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