Sunday, November 22, 2009

Heights Arts: House Concert Series - To the Extreme and Back

Mozart: Duo in B-flat Major, KV 424
Ligeti: String Quartet No. 1 "Metamorphoses Nocturnes"
Beethoven: String Quintet in C-major, op. 29
Mozart: Clarinet Quintet in A, KV 581

With Miho Hashiume and Isabel Trautwein, violin; Yu Jin and Sonja Braaten, viola; Tanya Ell, Cello; and Franklin Cohen, clarinet.

I came into this program more or less on a whim. The concept of playing a concert in a private residence seemed interesting, perhaps a nod to the very origins of chamber music; Heights Arts is an organization relatively new to my consciousness; and generally it just seemed like a good idea.

I was not disappointed.

From the location -- a private penthouse downtown with fantastic views of the city and fantastic hosts -- to the music played beautifully in a impossibly intimate setting I can think of no way I would have preferred to spend the afternoon. The social atmosphere was also quite welcoming -- I was one of less than a handful who raised their hand when asked if this was a first time, and it truly seemed like everyone knew everyone.

The Ligeti piece was an athletic endeavor and one of the more challenging pieces I've seen played live--with a touching story behind it, but Mozart's Clarinet Quintet caught me off guard with a rich texture and beautiful playing by Mr. Cohen, equaled by the string artists.

It was particularly interesting that the majority of the musicians on the program are also members of the Cleveland Orchestra and how different -- not necessarily better nor worse, just different -- the experience is when you take that group of five musicians out of more than 100 and have them playing, literally, in a living room rather than a concert hall. This was particularly true of the clarinet, which I don't believe I've ever heard in such an intimate setting, and had a certain richness that I hadn't previously noticed.


No comments:

Post a Comment