A review from our concert in Lincoln Nebraska 9/27/15


Lincoln Journal Star:

As part of the Chinese Culture Festival at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, the Shanghai Quartet presented arrangements of Chinese folk music paired with Romantic-era string quartets Sunday afternoon at the Lied Center for Performing Arts. The Shanghai Quartet boasts an impressive long-term international reputation and has recorded more than 30 albums. The quartet consists of first violinist, Weigang Li; second violinist, Yi-Wen Jiang; violist Honggang Li; and cellist, Nicholas Tzavaras.

Mendelssohn’s “String Quartet No. 6 in F minor, Op. 80″ opened the program. The first crescendo of quick and precise passagework was meticulously together. Of particular note was the accelerando at the end of the first movement, which was well-together and perfectly timed. The dance character of the second movement was exceptional as well.

Next were selections from one of the group’s most popular albums, “China Song,” which featured a delightful set of traditional Chinese folk songs, arranged for string quartet by their second violinist Yi-Wen Jiang. The avant-garde “Song of the Ch’in” (1982) by Zhou Long opened the second half. This piece featured clicking, tapping and glissando effects which resembled the “Ch’in,” a traditional Chinese instrument.

Last on the program was Grieg’s “String Quartet No. 1 in G minor, Op. 27.” The ensemble really captured the sense of drama to the piece. The cello feature at the end of the first movement was quite remarkable. Overall, the quartet maintained a great sense of balance, blend and clarity to the rousing finish at the end.

For an encore the Shanghai Quartet presented another arrangement of a Chinese folk tune, a serene picturesque piece with cadenzas resembling bird calls. The group was very well-received, a sparkling jewel to the UNL Chinese Culture Festival..

Jeramiah Johnson