But good as they all were, the best performance of the three concerts was the Jasper String Quartet's stupendous interpretation of Beethoven's C-sharp minor String Quartet. Through the forty-minute work's seven continuous movements, from the opening Adagio ma no troppo's excruciating intensity through the Andante ma non troppo's sweet and saucy variations to the Presto's breakneck velocity and the closing Allegro's slashing violence, the players' concentration never let up. Their performance was exciting, elating, and ultimately exalted--wholly deserving of the sustained standing ovation it received.
Part of the stated raison d'etre of the Great Lakes Chamber Music Festival is to showcase both seasoned players like Tocco and young ensembles like the Jasper String Quartet. The idea is worth supporting; the execution is worth embracing; and the tickets are worth purchasing well in advance, because the concerts usually sell out. The Festival--with most of last year's performers--returns with concerts on June 15, 22, and 24.
[Originally published in June, 2012.]