Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Cleveland Chamber Music Society: Daedalus Quartet

Beethoven: String Quartet No. 10 in E-Flat Major, Op. 74 ("The Harp")
Lerdahl: Third String Quartet (2008) (World Premiere)
Dvorak: String Quartet No. 11 in C Major, Op. 61
At the Pilgrim Congregational Church, Shaker Heights.

For personal reasons entirely unrelated to CCMS, the venue, or the performers this concert was unusually awkward for me.

This is the second time this week I've heard Beethoven's Quartet in E-Flat Major (the first time being here)... I have to say that I enjoyed the piece far more when extracted from the Beethoven sandwich that I first heard it in. Perhaps because my ear was already used to the major motifs and flow of the piece I was more easily able to pick out "short-short-short-long rhythmic outline" -- despite having it pointed out the first time I heard the quartet, I didn't notice it in that rendition. In both versions I enjoyed the pizzicato traveling its way around the quartet. For simple pleasures.

It's also intresting to note that both groups went to great lengths to point out that this piece was not titled The Harp by Beethoven and that title didn't have his approval.

In learning to play the violin, the E string is my least favorite to spend more than one or two bows on because it's screechy to my ear. Lerdahl's Third String Quartet had some interesting themes -- and a great introduction by the composer ("An introduction...a coda...and some stuff in the middle") -- but the violins spent too much time on the E-string -- and the so-insanely-high/sharp-that-it-would-never-come-through-on-a-recording-E-string for me to really enjoy it.

Finally Dvorak's String Quartet No. 11 in C Major... I don't know how I feel about the piece. I don't have the instant attraction that I did to From the New World, but I wasn't put off by it either. There were some themes in the 2nd movement that seemed familiar but I couldn't place them; I'm relatively certain I haven't heard the piece previously.


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