Pacifica Quartet with Dmitry Kouzov | Mandel Hall, University of Chicago | Classical | Chicago Reader

Pacifica Quartet with Dmitry Kouzov Recommended Soundboard Critics' Picks

When: Sun., Nov. 1, 3 p.m. 2009

The PACIFICA QUARTET plays here so regularly that, were it not for its bold programming and performance style, Chicagoans might be lulled into taking the group for granted. The rest of the country certainly doesn’t: this year the quartet won a Grammy, was named ensemble of the year by Musical America, and succeeded the Guarneri Quartet (after a 43-year run) as resident ensemble at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Here the Pacificas offer a fantastic program that plays to their strengths while demonstrating their considerable range. First is Mendelssohn’s Quartet in E-flat Major, op. 12, an irresistible example of the composer’s precocious perfection. Next is George Crumb’s eerie 1970 quartet Black Angels (Images I), music that, with its use of amplification, extended techniques, vocal contributions, and additional “instruments” such as water-tuned crystal glasses, demands to be heard live. Finally, cellist Dmitry Kouzov, who’s very much at home in chamber music, joins the group for one of the pinnacles of the chamber repertoire: Schubert’s String Quintet in C Major, D. 956. Written in the last months of the composer’s life, it’s a turbulent work of great contrast and power. By adding a cello instead of the traditional viola, Schubert enlarges and darkens the ensemble sound. —Steve Langendorf

Price: $25, $5 students

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