Last Sunday's Brahms concert at Northwestern U's Winter Chamber Music festival seemed like an early rehearsal. The concert featured some of the most accomplished area musicians whose technical skills are well beyond question, but they didn't seem to have become comfortable working together.
Featuring two engaging pieces by Brahms, the concert started with the String Quintet op. 111. The ensemble was not cohesive. The second selection, the String Sextet op. 18, seemed tighter but failed to convey the impression that the players speak with one voice. Nor did it help that Lynn Harrell's rubato playing seemed at odds with the style of the other players.