Buenos Aires Herald - por Pablo Bardin - 27-6-2016

La Bella Música performs its concerts this year at the Brick Hotel (ex Caesar Park) in an ample first floor hall of acceptable acoustics. They presented the Cuarteto Petrus, surely one of the best we have, performing two emblematic quartets of Impressionism: those by Debussy and Ravel. A short but pithy programme (57 minutes), a typical coupling of vinyl LP times ó and a hard one to supplement, for the French production of quartets is lean, and those that come to mind arenít Impressionistic. Outside that aesthetic line, options could be relatively short quartets by Roussel, Milhaud or Faurť (a late, autumnal and severe score).

Debussyís Quartet was written when he was 31, mulling over his first orchestral masterpiece, Prélude à líaprès-midi díun faune ("Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun"). The quartet is beautiful and complex, making the most of small melodic cells; however, its textures are a bit dense now and then. Ravelís dates from 1903, 10 years later, and it shows: at 28, he handles the medium with greater skill; the sounds are more aerated and special uses of the strings are more often employed. It is a fascinating score, quite Impressionistic.

Cellular phones were heard rather often throughout the Debussy piece; in the brief interval, La Bella Música president Patricia Pouchulu scolded the offenders, and the first violinist Pablo Saraví joked saying "we donít want competition." Was this a factor in the relatively less accomplished Debussy performance as compared with the Ravel? Perhaps. But these first-rate professionals produced some rather harsh sounds and omitted subtleties that were needed, with the exception of violist Adrián Felizia, who maintained a lovely timbre and perfect technique in both scores. Saraví, Hernán Briático (second violin) and Gloria Pankaeva (cello) were below their considerable best in Debussy, but fortunately found their form in Ravel, which went very well. As did their encore, not Impressionistic indeed, a typical Piazzolla piece.

Pablo Bardin

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