Sponsored by Mishkenot Sha'ananim
The noteworthy event of the Jerusalem music scene last week was the Jerusalem Quartet's [Alexander Pavlovsky, Sergey Bressler, Amihai Grosz, Kyril Zlotnikov] performance with guest cellist Martin Lovett.
Sponsored by the Jerusalem Music Center Mishkenot Sha'ananim, the Quartet's commitment to familiarizing the audience with Shostakovich's works in recent performances deserves unreserved gratitude. This time it was the turn of his String Quartet Nr. 5. Had one not known that Shostakovich was an innovative 20th century composer, one might have felt tempted to label this work "Romantic." As overtly emotional as it sounded, the piece was also garnished with unconventional harmonies and modernist ideas. This is perhaps one of that period's most tragic and painful works because of its understated style and abstention from any trace of sentimentality. The players captured the work's spirit with admirable sensitivity and empathy, sometimes producing a quadruple piano sound so soft as to be nearly inaudible.
The program's real Romantic item, without inverted commas, was Schubert's String Quintet in C major. Rendered with perfect balance of sound and impeccable purity of intonation, one still could not help feeling that these extremely gifted musicians seemed to be just a trifle too young to identify with the work's profound tragedy. It would be interesting to hear them play this piece 10 or 20 years from now.