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Classical Music

People Are Talking: UMS presents The St. Lawrence String Quartet at Rackham Auditorium

Posted: 4/5/12 -- 8:00 am

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    A lovely concert!

    The two Haydns reminded us that no rain ever fell into this composer’s life any more than into Mendelssohn’s or Dvorak’s. The lightheartedness of this ensemble, manifest when their leader addressed the audience and when they dove into the second movement of the Schafer work with such gusto, was a good match for Papa Joseph. Both quartets were played with more than usual energy.

    Here’s what occurred to me during the Schafer. Different pieces of music require different styles of listening. Don’t listen to the second movement of this composition the same way as to a chamber work by Mozart or Schubert. On those we parse every chord, every dynamic change, every eighth-note rest. Here that would be the wrong resolution: the second movement is a take–off on the classical scherzo (it actually seemed to have a minuet-trio form if I’m not mistaken). The point is: it was an EVENT meaningful because it was NOT like Schubert or Mozart (motto: intertextuality)! You can, like, sort-of listen to it, whatever — you dig? – and still get it, like. Movement: I. the composer lays his vocabulary before us. II. Scherzo, like. III. Dirge. I very much enjoyed the whole, like, thing. What an inventive guy this Schafer is, squeezed every possible effect out of the strings – a latter-day Bartok.

    Goliov was moving, wouldn’t mind hearing it again this evening.

    Encore: Haydn (Movmt from Seven last words): Here lightheartedness bit the ensemble in the leg. This should be played more quietly and introspectively. When Haydn performed it in Cadiz on a Good Friday, the church was draped in black. There was no black last night.

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