Anticipation of a Tokyo String Quartet concert is a pleasure suigeneris . Whatever this seamless ensemble attempts is apt to be superb. Last night's appearance at the Corcoran held particular promise, however, because the program included Alban Berg's Lyric Suite.
The Suite was thought to be only an abstract work until two years ago, when the indefatigable Berg researcher George Perle showed that it was a rapturous testimonial of the composer's secret love for Hanna Fuchs-Robettin. Perle had found the pocket score in which Berg decoded for Hanna the Suite's language of love. The world's view of Berg and the music was radically alteres.
The Tokyo Quartet's performance of the Lyric Suite hit the listener right in the solar plexus. With their unique blend of intelligence, sensitivity and skill, they captured the work's compelling emotional intensity and dazzling instrumental virtuosity. When they finished the concluding Largo desolato, which trails off in wrenching sadness, the listener was left limp.
The quartet returned after intermission to give a glowing performance of Ravel's quartet, whose limpid clarity and spontaneous beauty soothed the emotions and almost restored the stomach to normal.
The Tokyo Quartet began its program with a performance of one of MOZART'S MOST FASCINATING AND COM-PLEX QUARTETS, THE G MAJOR, K. 387, WHICH WAS MERELY RAVISHING.