"Mozart and Mimosas" Review- a special quartet performs Mozart and Schumann

The Chicago Philharmonic Chamber Players (CP2) completed their spring season on March 19th with a concert sponsored by The Consulate General of The Federal Republic of Germany in Chicago, at The City Winery, 1200 W. Randolph. Called “Mozart and Mimosas”, the concert at noon, in perfect time for brunch, featured 2 spectacular works from the orchestral canon, beautifully presented by Mathias Tacke, violin; Kuang-Hao Huang, piano; Paula Kosower, cello; and Rose Armbrust Griffin, viola. The fully loaded house was enthralled by their immersive performance.

The quartet in rehearsal

First on the program was Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s “Piano Quartet No.1 in G minor”, 1785, K.478. The piece is considered to be the first major work composed  for piano quartet in the chamber music repertoire. A very complex composition in three movements, it was played here with a depth of feeling and insight, with clarity and sonorous balance. Kuang Hao-Huang’s classically skillful articulation at the piano was a delight, especially coupled with this very strong trio of strings- the amazingly talented Mathias Tacke, soulful artist Paula Kosower and outstanding viola player Rose Armbrust Griffin. A work that can be described as dark was transformed into a stormy urgency with both wit and tender expression. Even when it seemed doleful, the light shone through! At the finale, the rhythms were artfully sprung and all ended hopefully.

Mathias Tacke, Rose Armbrust Griffin, Kuang-Hao Huang, Paula Kosower

The second piece, Robert Schumann’s “Piano Quartet in E flat major”, 1842, Op. 47, was crafted in the composer’s “Chamber Music Year”, during which he concentrated on that genre. A work in 4 movements, “It is one of the most frequently performed and recorded piano quartets in the standard repertoire”. A slow brief introduction that reappears twice in the first movement contains a 4 note recurring motif. The second movement, described as “All staccato vigor and rushing fantasy imagery” is followed by the famous slow movement, introduced by the cello.

 As Huang described prior to the performance, this slow movement is absolutely lovely. It is a touchingly romantic and “Song-like melodic movement, with the cello prominent”. The entire piece was presented with great vitality and charm, the collaboration between the players demonstrating musical virtuosity and intelligience. The work concludes energetically, with the piano continuing to play a dominant role.

The happy musicians celebrate after the concert

The concert was very well-received; this reviewer noted attendees at the Consulate’s table with closed eyes, smiling and swaying gently to the music.

 For more information about and tickets for upcoming performances by The Chicago Philharmonic, including “Paths of Passion”, April 9th at 3PM at Pick-Staiger Hall, 50 Arts Circle Drive, Evanston, go to The Chicago Philharmonic website


 All photos courtesy of The Chicago Philharmonic 

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