Grammy-nominated Takacs Quartet explores new repertoire

Pianist Margaret McDonald collaborates in performances of Janáček and Elgar

By Peter Alexander

Takasce SQ

Tákacs Quartet. Photo by Keith Saunders.

The Takacs Quartet has such a long and distinguished history, has performed and recorded so much music, that it is surprising to learn that there is major repertoire that has not appeared on their programs.

In fact, their list of unplayed works will shrink by two at their performances Sunday and Monday (4 p.m. Jan. 10 and 7:30 p.m. Jan. 11) in Grusin Music Hall. And unsurprisingly, neither is for string quartet alone: The Takacs and pianist Margaret McDonald will perform Edward Elgar’s Quintet for piano and string quartet; and McDonald and first violinist Edward Dusinberre will present Leoš Janáček’s Sonata for violin and piano.

Completing the program will be Beethoven’s String Quartet in D major, op. 18 no. 3.

This will be the first concert by the Takacs following the announcement in December that their album with pianist Marc-Andre Hamelin of Shostakovich’s Piano Quintet and String Quartet No. 2 has been nominated for a Grammy Award. It is their fifth nomination and will be their second award if they win. The Grammy Awards will be presented Feb. 15.

“We’re always trying to combine music that’s very much our standard repertoire with newer things,” Dusinberre says. “It’s fun with (Elgar and Janáček), since they’re written at a similar time around the First World War, and the musical language couldn’t be more different.”

Read more in Boulder Weekly.