Dali Quartet brings Latin passion to Elon performance

It is time to reconsider any thoughts that classical music cannot be deeply moving, highly inspiring or fiercely passionate.

The Dali Quartet, with members hailing from Venezuela and Puerto Rico, describes its style as classically rooted with a Latin passion. The string quartet has been around for about 10 years, and the award-winning artists who currently make up the group have been playing together for about two years.

It seemed as if these people had been making music together for more than a lifetime at their performance Feb. 27 in Whitley Auditorium at Elon University.

Having toured internationally and collaborated with some of the greatest composers of the time, the quartet serves as Quartet in Residence for the Elite Strings Program and Resident Ensemble of the Black Pearl Chamber Orchestra in Philadelphia.

The first half of the performance included selections by German composers Mozart and Johannes Brahms.

It took the quartet a few moments to get settled on stage, but with a swift breath in and a quick bow, they were off.

Jesus Morales’ cello tone filled Whitley with a deep bass that supported and lifted the sound of each instrument up towards the ceiling, and Simon Gollo’s intonation never faltered as he climbed higher and higher in the violin’s register.

They rose and fell at all the right moments, and every dynamic or emotional change was effortlessly synchronized. The music exploded with life.

The only fumble of the first half of the concert belonged to the audience.

Some in attendance would have greatly benefited from reading “Miss Manners’ Guide to Excruciatingly Correct Behavior,” paying special attention to the sections about clapping between musical movements, getting up during pieces and talking throughout a performance.

After a brief intermission, the second half of the program took the audience on a journey through Cuba, Venezuela, Argetina, Panama and Puerto Rico.

The beautiful tango by Carlos Gardel and the closing tune “El Cumbanchero” were the standouts.

They breathed together, they moved together and they felt together. They looked like silent movie characters having an endlessly intense conversation to a fiery soundtrack.

In light of the events currently taking place in Venezuela, the group also expressed its sorrow for its country and its immense gratitude for being invited to perform at Elon.

The night concluded with a standing ovation and an encore performance of “La Cumparsita.”

The reception was held Friday morning at El Centro de Espanol and the members casually talked about themselves and their inspirations with the 40 people in attendance.

They performed a few pieces from the previous night, and once again they danced a dance of exquisite execution — every eye drawn to the instrument carrying the melody, every cue perfectly choreographed, every phrase beautifully stated.

As the entranced audience enjoyed the complementary Costa Rican breakfast of scrambled eggs, fried plantains and black beans and rice, not a single word could be spoken to break the spell.

Kelsey Higgins, The Pendulum
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