The Borromeo Quartet plays for Chamber Music Society of Fort Worth

Review: A Feast for the Ears | Chamber Music Society of Fort Worth | Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth

A Feast of Music

The Borromeo Quaret, which uses digital scores, delivers a fantastic concert for the Chamber Music Society of Fort Worth.

published Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Photo: Lawrence Semrad
The Borromeo Quartet plays for Chamber Music Society of Fort Worth


Fort Worth — The Borromeo String Quartet, presented by the Chamber Music Society of Fort Worth at the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth on Saturday afternoon, is known for its unusual use of technology. They use laptops or tablets onstage to read from scores or even manuscripts, providing a sense of connectedness with the other members of the quartet. Another innovation is the group’s seating arrangement: while most quartets have the two violinists sitting next to each other, the Borromeo’s seating, from left to right, is first violin, viola, cello, and second violin. This arrangement allows violist Mai Motobuchi to project well, while second violinist Kristopher Tong, facing away from the audience for much of his performance, occasionally turned to face listeners when he especially wished to bring out his part.

On the whole, this arrangement worked well. Since violin invariably projects more than viola, it gives the violist an opportunity to be heard unimpeded, and Tong’s strategy for being heard worked well. Cellist Yeesun Kim provided grounding in between the two inner voices (second violin and viola).

While innovation sometimes comes with issues—Saturday’s concert started about 15 minutes late because of a problem getting the Facebook live streaming to work properly— overall it seems to pay off for the Borromeo, whose tight, unified ensemble and eager exploration of musical ideas made for a delightful afternoon.

The Borromeo Quartet is known for its performances of contemporary music, but Saturday’s concert included much more traditional repertoire. The first half of the program consisted of Hadyn’s Quartet in F Major, Hob. III:82, and Mozart’s Quartet in C Major, K. 465, Dissonance. A signal feature of a first-rate string quartet is the feeling that the audience is hearing one consciousness divided among four bodies, and their four respective instruments. The Borromeo ably provides that illusion. While tone, especially that of first violinist Nicholas Kitchen, was sometimes slightly rough-hewn, even that created drama, particularly in the Mozart.

The second half of the program began with Gershwin’s beautiful “Lullaby” for string quartet. The ensemble brought out the sweetness of Gershwin’s melodizing without being cloying. The real standout of the program, though, was Ravel’s delightful Quartet in F Major. The first movement duet between first violinist Kitchen and violist Motobuchi, playing two octaves apart, was chill-inducing and flawlessly in tune, and set the groundwork for a sublime performance. The critical rhythmic drive and propulsion of the three-against-two passages in the second movement created delightful energy, in particular, and the fourth and final movement concluded with delicious intensity.

There may be better string quartets out there. But the Borromeo is certainly one of the best we’ve heard in the Metroplex in a while.  Thanks For Reading

Dates, Prices, & Other Details

Comment on this Article

Share this article on Social Media
Click or Swipe to close
A Feast of Music
The Borromeo Quaret, which uses digital scores, delivers a fantastic concert for the Chamber Music Society of Fort Worth.
by J. Robin Coffelt

Share this article on Facebook
Tweet this article
Share this article on Google+
Share this article via email
Click or Swipe to close
views on theater, dance, classical music, opera and comedy performances
news & notes
reports from the local performing arts scene
features & interviews
who and what are moving and shaking in the performing arts scene
season announcements
keep up with the arts groups' upcoming seasons
listen to interviews with people in the local performing arts scene
media reviews
reviews and stories on performing arts-related film, TV, recordings and books
arts organizations
learn more about the local producing and presenting arts groups
performance venues
learn more about the theaters and spaces where the arts happen
keep up with fabulous ticket giveaways and other promotions
connect to local arts crowdfunding campaigns
post or view auditions and performing arts-related classes, services, jobs and more
about us
info on TheaterJones, our staff, what we do and how to contact us
Click or Swipe to close
First Name:
Last Name:
Date of Birth:
ZIP Code:
Your Email Address:
Click or Swipe to close
Join TheaterJones Around the Web

Follow Us on Twitter

Subscribe to our Youtube Channel

Click or Swipe to close
Search the TheaterJones Archives
Use any or all of the options below to search through all of reviews, interviews, features and special sections. If you are looking for a an event, use the calendar section of this website. This search will not search through the calendar.
Article Title Search:

Description Search:
TheaterJones Contributor:

TheaterJones Section:

Showing on or after:      Showing on or before:  
Click or Swipe to close
We welcome your comments

I am discussing:  

Your Name:
Your Email Adress:

please enter the text below and then click or tap SUBMIT :