The Dover Quartet debuts at Princeton University Concerts

Although retired since 2014, I still relish opportunities to teach, write, and share opinions.
The Dover String Quartet appeared at Richardson Auditorium, Alexander Hall, at Princeton University on Thursday, April 7, 2022. Their program featured Haydn’s String Quartet in D Major, Op. 64, No. 5 “The Lark” (1790), Shostakovich’s String Quartet No. 4 in D Major, Op. 83 (1949), and Mendelssohn’s String Quartet No, 5 in E-flat Major, Op. 44, No. 3 (1838). 
 
All three works were the product of mature composers producing music at the height of their respective creative powers. 
 
So it is only fitting that performing artists at their peak should perform them. The Dover String Quartet are three lovely young men and a handsome woman who positively drip accolades, as their biography in the program informs us. In 2013, they swept prizes from the Banff competition, as well as from Wigmore Hall, the esteemed Avery Fisher Career Grant, a Grammy Award nomination, and a host of others. They were named one of the greatest string quartets of the last 100 years by BBC Music Magazine. Who are these superfolk? They are Joel Link, violin; Bryan Lee, violin; Milena Pajaro-van de Stadt, viola, and Camden Shaw, cello. 
 
Having never actually known to have heard a lark’s song, internet research was necessary. As it turns out, the lark can have many different songs, often riffing on and mimicking other birds’ singing. Many in the audience no doubt knew and appreciated this fact.  Songs of the Lark.
The Dover Quartet played with assured, honeyed tone throughout. Mr. Joel Link clearly led his comrades through each piece, being the most thrilling and animated member of the quartet. He often had to wipe the sweat from his brow on the cuff of his sleeve. Please, someone, buy the artist a few handkerchiefs, strawberry devices, optional.
All four artists are Curtis School of Music Faculty. The program notes that the artists took the name in honor of the famous Curtis graduate Samuel Barber, and his Dover Beach. Their instruments include a Peter Guarneri of Mantua violin, played by Mr. Link, while Mr. Lee plays a 1904 violin by Riccardo Antonezzi. 
 
Here is an amusing video of Mr. Link creating a cocktail he has named “The 2oth Century Boy!”
Understandably, the audience called the Dover Quartet back several times for standing ovations. There was no encore. 
 
Add the Dover String Quartet to your next must see nights of great music. 
 
Meanwhile, visit www.concerts.princeton.edu for the remaining concerts of the season.

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