Ignat Solzhenitsyn, son of the late writer Alexander, is a warm authoritative presence, a gentle giant with his usual gig conducting the Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia, but more the brooding pianist who was all business when he came accompanied the women of the Moscow Quartet. He may be chamber maestro, but he fit into the balance of ensemble power with skill and presence.
The women of the MQ- Eugenia Alikhanova, 1st violin,
Cellist Olga Ogranovich, Galina Kokhanovskaya, violin and Tatian Kokhanovskaya viola-aggressively interpretive and artistically steely floated crisp articulation of The Rider by Franz Joseph Haydn, immediately setting the tone of an unacademic afternoon. Surprising in fact, to hear the later movements lurching toward romanticism.
Next, the lush and spiney musical terrain of Dmitri Shostakovich’s Quintet in G minor, is necessarily a taut dialogue between Solzhenitsyn and Alikhanova, they each have their anti-melodic say.
Alikhanova dissonant edge so taut that it bordered on nerve snapping until she releases a whispering resolve. Solzhenitsyn’s crashing basso runs are never overwrought- from flat murmurs to Monkish (as in T) density that lingers to rattle the spine. Later, san Ignat, jazz immediacy extended to the Quartet’s reading of Beethoven’s String Quartet with MQ’s vibrant overlays and handoffs among the players.