It would be difficult to find fault with a group of musicians who donate time and talent to help feed the hungry. It is therefore a doubly happy thing to report that last night's program by the National String Quartet at Bethesda United Church of Christ showed a capable and sometimes inspired ensemble playing beautiful music beautifully.
That the event was of superior musical quality came as no surprise, since Suzanne Friedman, the organizer of the seven-year-old Concerts to End Hunger series at the church and a violinist herself, is known for coming up with good things. This young quartet of National Symphony members -- violinists Charles Wetherbee and Terri Lee, violist Nancy Bitner and cellist James Lee -- brought conviction and considerable expertise to major works by Mozart, Shostakovich and Dvorak.
If the National (all players of seemingly different temperaments) does not yet play with the natural unity of some of our more weathered quartets, its members work hard to convey well-thought-out ideas and agreed-upon interpretations, and the resulting product is very coherent. The group's chief asset is its straightforward, honest approach. Of special interest is Wetherbee's sophisticated and romantic first violin playing.