Sunday, May 30, 2010

Cleveland Chamber Music Society: Linden Quartet (Benefit House Concert)

Bartok: Quartet No. 3, Sz. 85 (1927)
Beethoven: Quartet in E minor, Op. 59 No. 2
Sarah McElravy, Catherine Cosbey, violin; Eric Wong, viola; Felix Umansky, cello.
At the Luke Residence, Cleveland.

After the concert, I was asked by an anonymous patron, "You must be related to one of the musicians." "No, I've just head the Quartet play before," was my response. "I can see why you would want to hear them again. That was phenomenal," declared the patron as she walked away. I have to agree.

Particularly with the announcement that the Linden Quartet is moving to New Haven as Yale's Graduate Quartet-in-Residence--literally, as it turns out, hitting the road tomorrow--and the programs that this concert was to benefit--I didn't want to miss the opportunity to hear them again.

While I enjoyed the concert, I'm not sure how I felt about Bartok's quartet--the instruments were used in unconventional ways to generate unconventional sounds (plucked strings, playing near the bridge, tapping the strings with the back side of the bow) it was hard for me to really dig into the piece.

When I'm truly enjoying listening to a piece of music I have a tendency to involuntarily close my eyes and just let the notes play on my ear; with this concert--particularly the Beethoven piece--the reflex was so strong that I had to force my eyes open lest anyone think that I had fallen asleep. Ms. McElvray's introduction deserves particular note based on her clear familiarity with the with the background to the music.

The concert raised funds to benefit the Cleveland Chamber Music Society's Outreach programs--putting live classical music in primary schools--a general cause (including CityMusic Cleveland's programs, and the Cleveland Orchestra's Community Music Initiative) that I've become increasingly passionate about, and that I wish I had exposure to while growing up.

Safe travels to the Linden Quartet as they embark on their next journey...

(p.s. anyone who wants to make use of my roughly 20x30 living room in Cleveland Heights for a house concert... send me an email.)

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