In a Carnegie concert sponsored by Sejong Soloists, the Novus String Quartet did an excellent job of presenting stylistically authentic performances of varied music by Mozart, Ligeti, and Dvorak. The Mozart was particularly impressive, as its exposed, transparent strands were beautifully shaped with clean textures and impeccable intonation. The violinists Jae-Young Kim and Young-Uk Kim, the violist Seung-Won Lee, and the cellist Woong-Whee Moon were all rhythmically in sync too. The challenging Ligeti String Quartet No. 1, “Metamorphoses Nocturnes”, poses its share of complexities, and Novus handled obstacles with ease. They were well-prepared.
Their preparation was also in evidence with Dvorak’s String Quartet No. 13 in G Major, a late opus composed near the time of the cello concerto. The work has both the transparencies of the Mozart and the dense counterpoint of the Ligeti, and Novus solved difficulties with aplomb, presenting a fluid, confident performance of the first order. On top of that, they homogeneously sang out Dvorak’s expressive folk-like music with charm and eloquence.
This ensemble will go far. They clearly have an affinity for the classical style, but also modern works and romantic staples. In an effort to broaden their repertoire, they are currently taking the Konzertexamen degree course under the guidance of Christoph Poppen and Hariolf Schlichtig at the Hochschule fur Musik und Theater Munchen (Academy of Music and performing Arts Munich) . Over the last five years, (the group was founded in 2007 by violinist Jae-Young Kim), Novus has been the recipient of many prizes and awards, such as at the Lyon International, the Osaka, the Haydn, and the ARD in Germany. Most recently, Novus has appeared at the Seoul Spring Chamber Festival, and the highlight of the season was marked by their performance tour through Costa Rica, El Salvador and Panama, sponsored by the Korea Foundation. The tour not only attracted wide media attention and great audience response, but it helped bring together the music and talented artists of Korea and Latin American countries. This is commendable work. They seem interested in bringing their collective talent to places and people that are under-nourished in classical music. They are the right group to do this, as they are building a broad repertoire and presenting it with charisma and skill.