The Daedalus Quartet
Friday at UB's Lippes Concert Hall
The 2004-05 Slee Beethoven Quartet Series concluded Friday with a very enjoyable performance by the Daedalus String Quartet. Named for the figure in Greek mythology who flew too close to the sun, the group has been creating a lot of buzz.
The musicians recently made their debut at Carnegie Hall's Weill Recital Hall, and they'll soon be off to Europe, where they'll perform at the Musikverein and Concertgebouw.
Leading the Daedalus Quartet is a sister/brother team of violinists, Min-Young Kim and Kyu-Young Kim. Rounding out the group are violist Jessica Thompson and cellist Raman Ramakrishnan. Their sound reflects their youth. The Daedalus is highly spirited, occasionally on the wild side. They can be rambunctious.
These attributes served them well, especially in the last quartet, the second "Razumovsky." You could almost imagine Beethoven's patron, the Russian Count Razumovsky, smiling at the folkish Russian themes, especially the tune in the trio of the Scherzo, the melody Moussorgsky used as the hymn to the Czar in "Boris Gudonov." The Daedalus dug into the theme, tossing it back and forth, giving it life.
Their togetherness is close to flawless. They brought a good feeling of concentration to the early Quartet in C Minor, Op. 18 No. 4, which according to tradition began the program. Kyu-Young Kim played first violin for this piece, displaying a style that was light, fluid and vigorous.
He switched places with his sister for the Quartet in F, Op. 135, and the dynamics changed somewhat. She's more stolid than he is, though her tone can be lovely. The slow movement gave cellist Ramakrishnan a chance to shine. His played the piece's sublime theme with deep feeling.
Kyu-Young Kim played first violin again for Op. 59, No. 2. Maybe it was because the challenging Op. 135 was behind them, but the group seemed looser and more relaxed. The finale was especially lilting and uplifting, and the ending was a riot of joyful noise.