CHICAGO CLASSICAL REVIEW

BY JOHN Y. LAWRENCE

The Pacifica Quartet’s Sunday afternoon performance at the Reva and David Logan Center for the Arts marked the end of the University of Chicago’s “Crossroads” series dedicated to the music of World War I. It also closed the quartet’s performances at the university for the 2014-2015 season.

To open the concert, clarinetist Michael J. Maccaferri and pianist Anna Polonsky joined the Pacifica Quartet in a performance of Sergei Prokofiev’s Overture on Hebrew Themes. In playing a classical work derived from folk material, there is always the question of how much to play up the music’s folkish origins versus its classical dressing. In this performance, Maccaferri phrased his solos playfully, and the ensemble as a whole was sensitive to the piece’s many shifts between exuberance and melancholia. But the playing generally felt more refined than gutsy, staying firmly within the concert hall, and never venturing into the shtetl inn.

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