Transylvan Quartet in Local Debut

In its local debut at Pierce College Monday, the Transylvan String Quartet disdained the vibrato-laden theatricality commonly associated with string players from Eastern Europe. Instead, these young Romanians--violinists George Dudea and Nicusor Silaghi, violist Marius Suarasan, cellist Vasile Jucan--project a light, bright ensemble tone in the service of an interpretive stance based on subtlety of projection.

From the outset, in Mozart's little Divertimento in D, K. 136, the foursome from the Transylvanian capital of Cluj offered sweetness of tone, reliable intonation and a dynamic palette predicated on variety within a relatively limited range.

These qualities served them handsomely throughout the evening, which proceeded with Bartok's Fourth Quartet, which may have been shorn of some of its inherent drama in the process, but gained in suggestiveness, particularly in the central nocturne, whose chilling little squeaks, bumps and twitterings emerged most tellingly.

The concluding, hyper-familiar "American" Quartet of Dvorak was refreshed by a light-fingered, mobile reading that concentrated more on the score's charm and delicacy than its surface glitter.

* The program will be repeated Thursday, 8 p.m., at the Wilshire-Ebell Theatre, 4401 W. 8th St. $7-$22. Information: (213) 939-1128.

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