Wednesday, October 6, 2010

CIM Faculty Recital: Cavani String Quartet Beethoven Cycle 1 of 3

Beethoven: Quartet in A Major, Op. 18, No. 5
Beethoven: Quartet in E-flat Major, Op. 74 (Harp)
Beethoven: Quartet in E-flat Major, Op. 127
The Cavani String Quartet: Annie Fullard, Mari Sato, violins; Kirsten Docter, viola; Merry Peckham, cello.

I had planned on being in Columbus again for work this week but based on some logistics issues (namely, it's hard for me to make sure equipment works when it's not physically there) that trip has been bumped back a little bit. So tonight I made an unplanned trip over to CIM for a faculty recital.

Cavani is just past the half-way point in their 2-year, 6-concert series in through which they will have performed all 16 Beethoven string quartets...quite a respectable undertaking. That said, though, my relationship with Beethoven is one of extremes: I either feel a strong connection with the pieces or I feel no connection at all. Tonight all three were squarely in the latter. Nonetheless, it was a great concert, and I've heard two new quartets (Op. 18, No. 5 and Op. 127) with excellent treatment.

Leading off with the Quartet in A Major (Op. 18, No. 5) my impression was, in two words "manic depressive": The first two movements seemed to swing from being on the "bright and cheerful" side to "dark and depressed", hearing the third movement (Adante cantabile) the phrase "playful romp" came to mind -- for some reason I want to throw a campfire in there as well, but in any event I think that movement was my favorite from the evening.

This is now the third time I've heard the Quartet in E-flat Major, Op. 74 popularly known as "The Harp" though that title seemingly never had the composer's blessing. In the first movement I noticed an ascending pizzicato and a rhythmic theme that I don't recall from the earlier performances: Both danced quite nicely on my ears. The second movement struck me as tender, and my thoughts took over: The remainder of this piece gave a musical backdrop against which my thoughts over the past two weeks were collected, divided, sorted and rearranged... something I haven't really made time for based on my travel and project schedules.

Following Intermission, where an unusually large portion of the audience disappeared ("I think that's enough Beethoven for one night," one patron was overheard to say while leaving): On the whole the piece struck me as warmly expressive without being overly sentimental, and again my thoughts came to the forefront, including one post that will be appearing in the next few days.


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