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by Daniel Hautzinger

Wasmuth-SQFor much of its existence, chamber music was performed in private homes for small gatherings of friends. A recital by the Wasmuth Quartet on January 14 in Oberlin Conservatory’s Stull Recital Hall had the feeling of those earlier soirees, an intimate and cozy evening. The concert was part of Oberlin’s month-long String Quartet Intensive and Festival.

Stull is small as performance spaces go, with no raised stage. For the Wasmuth’s concert, standees crowded the back and extra seating surrounded the performers on three sides, putting some audience members nearly within arm’s reach of the musicians. Such a close setting also grants an unusual acoustic: resonance is lost, but every detail cuts through. That exposure could be a nightmare for a performer, but the Wasmuths easily adjusted to the venue.

And good thing they did: the sprightly lines of Haydn’s String Quartet Op. 50 No. 6 (“The Frog”) were lithe in their hands, every note clear and bright. Read the rest of this entry »

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