Hausmann Quartet Champions New Works

SAN DIEGO STORY. reviewing San Diego’s Professional Performing Arts.

The Hausmann Quartet, the resident faculty string quartet at San Diego State University, offered a programming formula at Sunday’s (April 12) concert that I wish other quartets would readily adopt. Hausmann divided their program equally between works not previously performed in San Diego and a familiar staple of the repertory.

Opening their concert in the Conrad Prebys Aztec Student Union Theatre with the premiere of Linde Timmermans’ “Cante de Ida y Vuelta,” a work written for the Hausmann Quartet, set a high standard for the evening. The premise of her work celebrates the connection of songs and dances from South America as they migrated to Spain, the non- indigenous culture that most influenced that Southern hemisphere. Aptly, Timmermans translates her title as “roundtrip songs.” 

Her quartet’s austere idiom—short, incisive motifs treated soloistically—struck me as an homage to Anton von Webern, or perhaps what that astringent Viennese composer’s string music might have sounded like had he been Spanish. Although Timmermans marked her work in four separate movements, her sonic landscape was filled with so much silence, it sounded like a longish single movement.

I did catch the rhythmic pulse of the third movement Milonga, traditionally a slow Argentine tango, as well as the last movement’s robust Petenera, an Andalusian “flamenco genre, which the composer gave to the cellist Alex Greenbaum as a cadenza-like solo. Oddly, the other three musicians tucked their instruments into their cases as he passionately played on to the final cadence.