The Juilliard Quartet ended their season at the Library of Congress last night with the Beethoven Quartet Opus 132 which is about as decisive and transporting an ending as one could find.
They were not in as carefully aligned shape as they have been for other concerts in this series. The Beethoven third movement, for instance, did not have the depth of concentration and dedication that their Schubert C Minor Quintet had earlier in the season, and details such as upbeats and phrase endings were not as well calculated as they could have been.
The marvelous and unexpected wedding of delicacy and force in the fourth movement, however, was both vintage Juilliard and vintage Beethoven.
The first half of the program featured a smoothly cosmopolitan serenade for string trio by Dohnanyi that couched the strings in a romantic but uncluttered context, and "In Time of War" by Juilliard violinist Robert Mann.
This duo for violin and viola, written in 1945, is very much a product of its time. It glorifies the machine age in music analogous to the paintings of Juan Gris. It is expressive and nicely put together, and was of course, well performed by Mann and Samuel Rhodes.