Ann Arbor chamber music fans are already familiar with the differences between the all-Hungarian Takács Quartet, the half-English, half-Hungarian Takács Quartet, and the quarter-English, quarter-American, half-Hungarian Takács Quartet. The all-Hungarian incarnation made its UMS debut way back in 1984. The half-Hungarian, half-English version made its debut here fifteen years later and appeared every season after that until last season, when the quarter-English, quarter-American, half-Hungarian version played.
For those who aren't caught up, the sound of the current Takács Quartet can be summed up in three words: impasto, patina, and dollop. With Schranz and Fejér, the Takács kept its funky Hungarian impasto intact. With Dusinberre, the Takács added a fine patina of English poeticism. And with Walther, it appended a big dollop of American warmth.
In its program on Friday, January 12, at Rackham Auditorium, the Takács will perform three of the finest string quartets ever written in minor keys: Brahms' moody and magnificent Quartet in A Minor, Mozart's baleful and doleful Quartet in D Minor, and Beethoven's transcendent Quartet in A Minor, with its sublime "Heiliger Dankgesang" ("Holy Song of Thanksgiving"). If all goes well, bliss is assured.
[Review published January 2007]