CHAMBER MUSIC SOCIETY OF SALT LAKE CITY, Pacifica Quartet, Libby Gardner Concert Hall, March 6

Pacifica Quartet (Photo Credit: Saverio Truglia)

The Pacifica Quartet is at the top of its game right now. With a remarkable sense of interpretation, impeccable technique and fabulous musicality the foursome plays everything as if it was written for them.

They made a return visit to Salt Lake City Thursday playing a marvelous program that put their artistry on full display.

The group opened with Mozart’s attractive Quartet in F major, K. 590, the last of the three so-called Prussian Quartets and the last work in the genre he wrote. A light, graceful piece, they brought delicate balance to their reading that underscored the intricate interplay among the four instruments. Their playing was also characterized by lovely lyricism and finely wrought expressiveness.

Shostakovich’s Seventh Quartet in F sharp minor followed the Mozart. Overshadowed by the longer, more expansive and darker Eighth, the Seventh nevertheless packs quite a punch in its brevity and conciseness.

The Pacifica gave a wonderfully textured and lyrical account that was nuanced and brought out the richness of the work’s expressive palette. Theirs was a captivating interpretation that was thoughtful and well conceived and did full justice to the work.

After intermission the four played Brahms’ Quartet in C minor, op. 51, no. 1, the first quartet the composer felt was good enough to be published. It’s a large scale work that is symphonic in scope. There is an underlying element of tragedy in the music that gives the quartet a darkness and earnestness that the Pacifica expressed in beautifully crafted phrasings and subtle inflections.

There was one encore — the Allegretto pizzicato fourth movement from Bartók’s Quartet No. 4. The group gave a vibrant and rhythmically engaging account that was forceful yet subtle.

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About Edward Reichel

Edward Reichel, author, writer and composer, has been covering the classical music scene in Utah since 1997. For many years he served as the primary music critic for the Deseret News. He has also written for a number of publications, including Chamber Music Magazine, OPERA Magazine, 15 Bytes, Park City Magazine and Salt Lake Magazine. He holds a Ph.D. in composition from the University of California at Santa Barbara. He can be reached at Reichel Recommends is also on Twitter @ReichelArts.

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