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Music and Dance Reviews : Brodsky Quartet Makes U.S. Debut at Villa Maria

The Chamber Music in Historic Sites series scored a significant coup Sunday afternoon with the United States debut of the Brodsky String Quartet, as part of the UK/LA Festival, amid the quasi-splendors of the mock-Tudor Villa Maria at Western Avenue and Adams Boulevard.

The youthful British players--Michael Thomas and Ian Belton, violins, Paul Cassidy, viola, Jacqueline Thomas, cello--triumphed in an offbeat program that opened with “Late Swallows,” the sweetly langorous slow movement of Delius’ Second Quartet, in which they projected extraordinary dynamic variety within the narrow--pianissimo to piano--range dictated by the composer.

The pleasures in the Brodsky interpretation of the whining, lugubrious, hyper-Brahmsian E-minor Quartet of Elgar derived principally from the fact that it was played not only accurately but fast . Enough said.

While it was difficult to gauge the size of the Brodsky sound in the crowded, low-ceilinged, crannied salon, the high quality of that sound was unmistakable in the concluding work of the afternoon: Schumann’s exquisite Quartet in A, Opus 41, No. 3, dispatched with a winning combination of pinpoint ensemble, incisive rhythm and arching lyricism.

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