The Zurich-based Carmina Quartet has garnered critical notices that mark it as extraordinarily promising, a successor to, say, Quartetto Italiano. Judging by their performances of Haydn's opus 76 quartets on the Denon label, the foursome--Matthias Enderle and Susanne Frank (violins), Wendy Champney (viola), and Stephan Goerner (cello)--excel at producing a well-blended, marvelously textured sound built on impeccable intonation and refined gestures. Their playing has a stylish Viennese lilt and a vibrancy that adds to the sense of interpretive vigor. Small wonder that in 1992, only eight years after the group was founded, its recording of works by Szymanowski and Webern was nominated for a Grammy; the following year its CD of quartets by Ravel and Debussy won another nomination. For its local debut, part of the "Concerts Under the Dome" series in Oak Park, the Carmina will offer a heavyweight if predictable program that includes Haydn's Emperor Quartet and the Debussy quartet. Relatively new for the ensemble is Dvorak's A-flat Major Quartet, whose mix of rustic beauty and soulful nostalgia should provide them an ideal showcase. Saturday, 8 PM, Ascension Church, 815 S. East, Oak Park; 708-383-6456. TED SHEN
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