The scherzo was a gem with snippets of melody bouncing among the players and agile rhythms moving everything along. The trio set duos by first violinist Andrea Chan and Bernard Di Gregorio against answers by second violinist Anton Shepolov and Andrea Di Gregorio.
Ives was young enough that he studied with composers who studied in Germany.
Not that it mattered.
He went his own way, always. So his String Quartet No. 1 sounds rooted in that Germanic tradition, even though its musical ideas are snippets of hymn tunes and bits of original ideas that connect musically but give the aural effect of a slowly turning kaleidoscope.
Montclaire played it with style, maybe leaning just a bit on some of the modernist harmonic shifts in the second and fourth movements that give the piece a startling sound, given its time of composition (1896).
Beach's String Quartet in One Movement (1929) started slowly with understated melodies that flickered briefly then faded. The fast, central section had lots of rapid murmurs that contrasted sharply with outbursts of unison playing.
The return of the opening passage turned gradually sunlit, ending high in the range and luminously quiet.A crowd of about 50 attended.