Velvet sound of quartet also enlightening.Byline: Frank Magiera
COLUMN: MUSIC REVIEW
Think classical music and, understandably, you think Europe. But with the world getting smaller and, as New York New York, state, United States
New York, Middle Atlantic state of the United States. It is bordered by Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and the Atlantic Ocean (E), New Jersey and Pennsylvania (S), Lakes Erie and Ontario and the Canadian province of Times columnist Thomas Friedman constantly reminds us, flatter, the creation, appreciation and performance of great music clearly defies geographic boundaries.
Case in point: the New Zealand String Quartet, which performed at Tuckerman Hall Friday night for Music Worcester. Ostensibly hailing from the other side of the world, but actually comprising a Canadian and two Americans (one reared in Kansas and the other in upstate New York Upstate New York is the region of New York State north of the core of the New York metropolitan area. It has a population of 7,121,911 out of New York State's total 18,976,457. Were it an independent state, it would be ranked 13th by population. ) as well as a native New Zealander, this quartet personifies globalization globalization
Process by which the experience of everyday life, marked by the diffusion of commodities and ideas, is becoming standardized around the world. Factors that have contributed to globalization include increasingly sophisticated communications and transportation . And Friday's program had no trouble whatsoever expounding ex·pound
v. ex·pound·ed, ex·pound·ing, ex·pounds
1. To give a detailed statement of; set forth: expounded the intricacies of the new tax law.
2. on the important, the more important, and the most important influences in the classical canon.
The luscious, velvet sound of this group was apparent from the opening phrases of its first selections, Mendelssohn's Andante an·dan·te Music
adv. & adj. Abbr. and.
In a moderately slow tempo, usually considered to be slower than allegretto but faster than adagio. Used chiefly as a direction.
An andante passage or movement. variations in E major and the Scherzo scherzo (skĕr`tsō) [Ital.,=joke], in music, term denoting various types of composition, primarily one that is lively and presents surprises in the rhythmic or melodic material. in A minor. Mendelssohn, the boy wonder of classical music, wrote these pieces near the end of his brief life after purging his grief over the death of his sister with the F Minor Quintet. The musicians found exactly the right balance between that lingering melancholy and the flame that ignited the composer's inspired overture for "A Midsummer Night's Dream A Midsummer Night's Dream is a romantic comedy by William Shakespeare written sometime in the 1590s. It portrays the adventures of four young Athenian lovers and a group of amateur actors, their interactions with the Duke and Duchess of Athens, Theseus and Hippolyta, and ."
Mendelssohn's influence on 19th-century music was perhaps second only to Beethoven's and the program recognized that in extraordinary fashion by devoting the entire second half of the program to a splendid reading of the String Quartet in C Sharp minor. The quartet was the composer's own favorite and if it isn't everybody else's, it is certainly monumental - operatic in scale, with seven movements and 14 tempo changes played with barely a pause for a violinist to catch her breath.
Sandwiched in between was still another groundbreaking work, Bartok's String Quartet No. 4, a dissonant dis·so·nant
1. Harsh and inharmonious in sound; discordant.
2. Being at variance; disagreeing.
3. Music Constituting or producing a dissonance. , experimental piece that nevertheless reflects the composer's development much as the C Sharp Minor Quartet reflects Beethoven's.
Far-flung musicians such as the New Zealand String Quartet often take particular pride in showcasing their own native composers. In this case it was Ross Harris whose fascination with World War II came to focus on the fact the occupants of Hitler's bunker danced to a lovely song called "Blood Red Roses," the only recording available to them. Ross used the song to launch a stirring quartet that distorts the romantic melody into a lurching, fitful fit·ful
Occurring in or characterized by intermittent bursts, as of activity; irregular. See Synonyms at periodic.
fit symbol of fading Nazi perversity per·ver·si·ty
n. pl. per·ver·si·ties
1. The quality or state of being perverse.
2. An instance of being perverse.
Noun 1. .
You just have to love the way the New Zealand Quartet draws in its audience by chatting easily about the history and significance of the music it performs. Thankfully, these musicians don't expect their audiences to be experts or musical historians. Each piece was introduced by an informative narrative that explained the significance of the music and the subtle intricacies of the compositions, followed by a sublime performance. Likewise, the quartet also played the original version of "Blood Red Roses" before revealing how Ross used the music to extract his vivid commentary.
The encore was another special treat - Gershwin's Second Piano Prelude - arranged for the quartet by the violinist, Douglas Beilman, who clearly isn't in Kansas anymore.
And Gershwin never sounded so good.