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The Daily Tar Heel

Chamber Music Society Defines Perfection

5 Stars

Although The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center sent only six of its members to Chapel Hill, the well-reputed group's performance outplayed even the biggest orchestra.

The orchestra performed Friday evening at Hill Hall, and its performance was as engaging as it was technically flawless.

The ensemble delivered two hours of music that was enthralling from the first note all the way to the last. The sheer musical talent and quality of training within the group was evident throughout the two pieces on the evening's program.

The first piece, written by Schoenberg, was titled "Verklarte Nacht." The instrumentation was for a string sextet consisting of two violins, two violas and two cellos.

"Verklarte Nacht" is a piece about the many different faces of the night, and its haunting melodies effectively opened the show with technical and interpretive skill.

Listening to the piece, listeners got a sense of walking through the night. The nuances of each part bring out a feeling at first of being alone, merely taking in everything. As the piece progresses it becomes more of a celebration as the music becomes exciting. Quick and sweeping melodies are interjected over the ever-present slow feel provided by the cello. As the piece draws to a close, the original sounds are again heard as the melody is hinted by each of the three instruments.

The second piece performed was Schubert's quintet for two violins, two cellos and a viola in C major, Opus 163. This piece was well-placed in the program. In contrast with the Schoenberg, this piece starts off with plenty of energy.

The highlight of the piece is the second movement, Adagio. Unlike "Verklarte Nacht," this slow movement is less about contemplation and more about seeing the beauty present everywhere. The movement begins with a simple violin melody that is added to gradually by the cello and the viola. While at first there are only hints of a melody in the cello and the viola, the sounds eventually mold with the violin to create a more dynamic middle section to the piece. The violins take their simple melody from the beginning and add to it in volume and complexity until the piece reaches its climax, where it dies out much faster than it was built up.

The remaining two movements were also high in energy, and when it was completed, the audience began clapping even before the players could put their instruments down. The show was truly an emotional experience.

After the group returned to the stage three times to receive applause, the audience reluctantly filed out. But the experience was not to be forgotten.

All factors accounted for, the concert was an emotional ride led by incredible musicians.

The Arts & Entertainment Editor can be reached at

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