Aeolus Quartet / 6-14-15

I have been asked recently whether I am dead because I haven’t posted much. I am not dead. Very much alive and well, and in addition to the whole not-dead thing, I had the pleasure of hearing a recital by the Aeolus Quartet yesterday at Bargemusic; the program was Beethoven’s String Quartet #13 (minus the Grosse Fugue) and Dvořák’s Op. 81 Piano quintet (with pianist Rita Sloan). The Beethoven I’ve heard many times, but the Dvořák was new to me.

There was the odd slip and squeak and a few moments where the rhythm didn’t quite seem to hold together (e.g. in the cavatina of the Beethoven quartet), but on the whole this was an exciting performance. These musicians were at their best when they had something big and exuberant to tear into, like the presto (second movement) of the Beethoven, which elicited its own little round of applause (we were cheerfully informed by the first violinist that we could clap whenever we wanted, which turned out to be often) or the furiant in the Dvořák piece, which I thought was terrific – the four strings and the piano are passing around a series of little dance themes, and they did it in a way that really clicked. There were plenty of quieter moments too, like the rippling little theme of the Dumka (second movement ) of the Dvořák that were also really compelling.

I haven’t heard a live chamber ensemble since I think last summer, and every time I do, I remember why I like it so much. You can hear the individual parts far more distinctly than on a recording, and – well, it’s just fun. (I went home and went on a bit of a ticket bender for Mostly Mozart later in the summer. Yeah!)

6 thoughts on “Aeolus Quartet / 6-14-15

  1. I am glad to hear that you’re not dead! Thanks for the reminder to love chamber music. (Now I want to hear the Grosse Fugue again [Searching for Beethoven String Quartet files]) I used to have a recording of Von Karajan leading the full-on Berliner Philharmoniker string section in the GF. It was not chamber music, but I remember it being exciting. However, the real draw of that LP (remember LPs?), was some Mozart and especially R. Strauss’s Metamorphosen on the other side.) But I digress–as usual 🙂 Thanks for posting. It’s good to “see” you!

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    1. I had the same impulse after the concert – I went straight home and listened to the Grosse Fugue (well, after dinner). I’ve never heard it in orchestral form rather than chamber music – I may have to go looking for that on YT. (I don’t exactly remember LPs – my memory extends back to cassette tapes, but not much further 😉

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    1. You’re only old if you have Westminsters in your collection and play them on the Thorens you bought mid-century last with the proceeds from your day job as a newspaper proof-reader or switchboard operator or elevator man…and even then, that really just makes you ultra-hip.

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      1. Well then, I am neither old, nor ultra-hip. Do Mercury Living Presence LPs count?

        I did have some Westminsters (notably Hermann Scherchen conducting Bach’s B-minor Mass–in a nice padded album–in the old sense of album–like a photo album), but to be honest they originally were my Dad’s. And I did lose them in the great LP/8-track purge of ’95. (I didn’t get rid of all the reel-to-reels and most of the cassettes till aught 9 or so.)

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