Music Review: Calidore String Quartet transports audience

Calidore String Quartet
Sarasota Herald-Tribune

From the first delicate lines of “The Lark”, Haydn’s String Quartet in D Major, Op. 64, No. 5, I felt stress melt away and I was transported far and away from my busy day. Not that I wanted to leave, because I was sitting in The Ringling’s newly re-sparkled Historic Asolo Theater and, thanks to Artist Series Concerts, the Calidore String Quartet was on stage.

They might have left the Haydn performance as a calling card and that alone had my rapt attention. Every detail was genteel perfection. Crisp and tightly aligned, this ensemble captured the clean, classical balance while allowing the playful Haydn to shine through with a wink.

One wink shared an acknowledgment of violinist Ryan Meehan as an early winner of the Artist Series national scholarship competition. There was hometown pride swelling with every wow moment Meehan and his colleagues delivered.

Meehan was superbly paired with violinist Jeffrey Myers. Together, they added shimmer to the grounded lower voices of violist Jeremy Berry and cellist Estelle Choi. All four show an expansive command of a full range of technique and expression which were put to good use in Leos Janacek’s Quartet No. 1. The backstory of this quartet is as good as the music — and this performance. Inspired by Leo Tolstoy’s novella “The Kreutzer Sonata” named after Beethoven’s composition of the same name, the quartet is a musical psychodrama of cinematic scope, like a soundtrack to an early Hitchcock film noir with Ingrid Bergman. In this version, the jealous husband murders the cheating wife — played out with beyond harmonic tensions, outbursts and bow rattling before an elegiac end. Spicy stuff!

Turning back to civility and the relative calm of a late Beethoven quartet, these Calidore musicians selected the unusually reflective Quartet No. 12 in E-flat Major, Op. 127, for the antidote. Again, the incredible attention to the finest details stand this ensemble apart from the crowds. Their laser-focused unity created moments of sheer magic.

Remember this name, Calidore Quartet. If this performance, confirmed by recent accolades, is any measure, we might be fighting for tickets to their future performances. Swift ovations to the Calidore Quartet, and kudos to the Artist Series for catching these rising stars early on their upward trajectory.
Read the rest of the review here