Pianist Peter Serkin and the Guarneri String Quartet, royalties among classical performers, have been collaborators since the early days of the Marlboro Festival. But it's still hard for me to imagine them together: the patrician Guarneri, in terms of age and taste, seem a more natural partner as indeed they often were for Serkin's father, Rudolf, whereas the freewheeling younger Serkin, who spent much of his rebellious youth in the 60s championing the avant-garde, ought to team up with the likes of the Kronos Quartet. Things change. Even before his father's death, Peter started to mellow; while still an ace interpreter of contemporary keyboard literature, he's been delving more and more into the mainstream chamber repertoire. The Guarneri, on the other hand, have become more receptive to 20th-century works; their understanding of contemporary idioms is now more acute and their playing more eloquent. All this bodes well for their local premiere of a new piano quintet by Hans Werner Henze. The 66-year-old German composer, a longtime socialist whose prolific, pan-European career combines passions for theater and politics, is noted for his inventiveness and flair for dramatic flourishes. For example, halfway into the quintet's first movement, titled "Wild," the piano launches into a series of frenzied fanfares in alternation with the strings. Serkin should have a field day in this showy work commissioned in part by Chamber Music Chicago. The rest of the program consists of Haydn's Quartet in F Minor and Dvorak's sparkling and melodic Piano Quintet in A. Monday, 7:30 PM, Pick-Staiger Concert Hall, 1977 Sheridan Rd, Evanston; 242-6237.
Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Regina Touhey.