The other works on the program are Beethoven's exuberant and exhilarating Quartet in A Major and Ravel's ethereal meditation the Elysium Quartet. I have no doubt that the Takács will play the Beethoven brilliantly, but I am less sanguine about their Ravel. They have the technique to play it, but I wonder whether they have the temperament. Reserved but rapturous, sublimated but sublime, Ravel's Elysium requires a poise and an elegance, a dispassionate surface masking a passionate heart, that I have not heard from the Takács Quartet in their recordings or performances. I fear they may perform it with a precision that misses the point.
[Originally published in October, 2002.]