review: Avalon quartet

Nobody likes to be walked in on; nobody likes to walk in on somebody.  Ok, there are a few for both, but for me, it felt awkward to walk in on someone Thursday night.  Nothing bathroom or carnal about it, I walked in on someone having an experience even better than sex: the Avalon Quartet.

I walked in late because I second guessed myself while galavanting around Chicago.  First I had to drop off some stuff up in Andersonville, then there was a free drink waiting for me at the ChicagoNOW meetup at Rockit.  (I even popped my collar only to find that it's not cool any more.)  I checked and rechecked the time on myPhone: website says 8pm.  That's when I realized: The Internet Is Full Of Lies.  The concert started at 7:30, just like I thought, just like the press release said; if only it were easier to view Pdfs on mystupidPhone.
So I walked in on the Burlesque of Benjamin Britten's 3 Divertimenti, which was, admittedly pretty orgasmic but missed Puccini Chrysanthemums.  (According to witnesses, the Puccini was well-played but not tear-jerkingly so--too extroverted, too loud.)
I was busy cursing myself for mixing up the time, so I only had half a brain to listen until partway through the next piece: Verdi's String Quartet in E minor.  I enjoyed the Verdi, which was not operatic per se but definitely not short on dramma.  In the most lyrical movement, the Andantino, the prima donna role was played by first violinist Blaise Magnière.  But his violin sang more like a tenor: like many a tenor, he seemed to be playing to the back row, and, tragi-comedically, almost never dropped below a mezzo-forte.  
In general, in the first half, replete with high Romanticism, the ensemble lacked the wide-ranging emotional spectrum--the highs were high but the lows weren't so low.
The second half, the Avalon was joined by Roger Chase for Mozart's String Quintet: a flawless performance that left me feeling no need to hear this piece again.
This was my first time seeing the Avalon Quartet and won't be my last. Even if I wasn't especially turned on by the program itself, they proved themselves professional and technically able enough to handle the more exciting works on the next programs.  I would like to see the same amount of precision on the works by Steve Reich but more dripping expression on Berg's Lyric Suite.  It's Lyrische, not Lyric-ish.

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