April 6, 1987 |
The University Museum proved the perfect setting for the Tokyo String Quartet's recital yesterday afternoon. On the first floor of the museum, Eskimo jackets with delicate beadwork sat on the shoulders of impassive mannequins. Photographs of stolid Inuit men glared down from the walls. Downstairs, the quartet - Peter Oundjian, first violin; Kikuei Ikeda, second violin; Kazuhide Isomura, viola, and Sadao Harada, cello - played a program of Schubert, Mendelssohn and Beethoven.
January 26, 1990 |
The Tokyo String Quartet's third Beethoven concert in Richardson Auditorium was not so keenly polished as previous programs in the series, but the high level of intensity and almost devotional concern for the scores were continually reassuring. However one arranges a cycle of Beethoven's 17 quartets, a perennially interesting venture, players and audience are challenged - and benevolently provoked. Each reordering alters impressions and perspectives. An aural kaleidoscope is formed, with the quartets refracting and regathering elements from one another.
October 17, 2002 |
Among the great joys of the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society are concerts by the Tokyo String Quartet, and this isn't a minority opinion, since those concerts tend to be sold out. So we can all be forgiven for being inordinately nonplussed when the quartet arrived at the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts on Tuesday without first violinist Mikhail Kopelman. Having come to the Tokyo quartet from the great Borodin Quartet, Kopelman ushered the group into a golden period starting in 1996.
October 19, 1998 |
The Philadelphia Chamber Music Society has a devout and seasoned following. So many of its presentations sell out of the 500-seat hall it calls home at the Pennsylvania Convention Center hall that the society has gotten used to bringing out the folding chairs. Five rows of extra chairs were required for the Tokyo String Quartet's performance Friday night, making the atmosphere in the cordial chamber intimate indeed. The Tokyo is performing this fall without its longtime cellist Sadao Harada.
November 18, 1995 |
Personnel changes are no small matter for string quartets, a musical unit whose success depends on the closest kind of rapport. The Tokyo String Quartet, which was formed in 1969, has a new violinist sitting in the first chair - at least for this season while Peter Oundjian is on a sabbatical. Andrew Dawes replaces him, and while his sound may never fully match those of his colleagues, he didn't seem to be trying too hard to blend last night when the group played the Pennsylvania Convention Center.
February 9, 2012 |
Musicians today are writing and blogging, speaking directly to their public, involving readers in, yes, process - but also gathering up fans and a cache of personal investment that may or may not have anything to do with the music itself. Does it really matter what the pianist had for breakfast? Friend me, the classical world pleads. Jeremy Denk is an especially appealing denizen of the electronic ether. Tuesday night's intermission crowd at the Perelman Theater lit up with chatter about his recent New Yorker essay, an illuminating gaze at his own reflection in recordings.
February 4, 2002 |
Did they bait and switch? Or come to their senses? The ever-popular Tokyo String Quartet promised one of the most distinctive programs in the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society's history on Friday with an odd series of seven works by Mendelssohn, Schubert, Webern and Kurtag, most of them isolated, single-movement pieces - excellent ones - that are difficult to program any other way without seeming like odds and ends. Grouped together, what could these pieces from different centuries have in common?
September 26, 1992 |
I've no doubt that some chamber ensembles play as well as the Tokyo String Quartet. It's just hard to believe that other groups give concert-goers more for their money. My assessment follows the Tokyo's Thursday program of Haydn, Schubert and Ravel, which opened the 98th season of Princeton University Concerts at Richardson Auditorium. The Tokyo players - violinist Peter Oundjian, violinist Kikuei Ikeda, violist Kazuhide Isomura and cellist Sadao Harada - consistently produced a tightly knit, meticulously prepared sound that both delighted and enthralled.
November 10, 1989 |
String players like to remind us that their instruments are the ones held closest to the heart. And certainly those qualities of passion, tenderness and vulnerability that music so often releases are acute when expressed on a taut string. So anyone encountering Beethoven's most personal testimony, his cycle of string quartets, is in for an emotional and possibly spiritual experience of some magnitude. That appeared to be true for the audience at Princeton University's Richardson Auditorium on Wednesday night as the Tokyo String Quartet began a series of performances traversing the complete cycle.
February 17, 1988 |
As it nears its third decade before the public, the Tokyo String Quartet has mellowed. This listener has always admired the ensemble's riveting energy and exuberance but has occasionally felt its interpretations suffered from an excess of sheen or high-tech brilliance. But brilliance was hardly the point of its concert presented last night at the Academy of Music Hall by the Musical Fund Society. Expressivity was. During two hours of intensely involved music-making, the Tokyo offered quartets by Haydn, (Op. 74, No. 1 in C major)