It was Schubert weekend at Georgetown University's Gaston Hall once again. For the fifth year in a row, the great lyrical romantic composer was celebrated in a series of concerts focusing on his music, sponsored by the Arts Connection and performed by artists new to this area.
On Saturday the performers were the members of the New World String Quartet, currently in residence at Harvard, and the program included the two string trios in B-flat Major (one of them just the unfinished fragment); the D Minor Quartet, "Death and the Maiden"; and Mendelssohn's adventurous A Minor Quartet, Op. 13.
The New World is an interesting ensemble, another in the collection of young groups that are bringing chamber music to a new peak of excellence. Its playing strongly reflects the personality and imagination of first violinist Curtis Macomber, whose artistic instincts and superb technique make each line memorable. Macomber does not overwhelm the sound, however, which is rich and well balanced, but he does focus attention on the pop line most of the time.
The performances were universally lovely. The Mendelssohn, with its changing moods, was handled with restraint and sensitivity, and the Schubert Quartet, familiar as it is, was played with a sense of wonder, freshness and simplicity.