Strings and Things
I met up with an old friend tonight at the Kennedy Center. We worked together for years and he does a good job of keeping in touch.
The Orion String Quartet were playing at the Terrace Theater, a smaller venue at the KC. That included 2 violins, a viola, and a cello. It was a fairly classical program -- Bach, Brahms, and Schubert -- with a dose of Webern (1883 - 1945) thrown in.
What was most interesting about their performance was we got to see a very human side of serious performers playing serious music. They started the program with an impromptu round of “happy birthday” for Marta Casals Istomin, a long-time benefactor of the Kennedy Center.
Midway through the first movement of the Schubert Quartet, they stopped abruptly when one of the strings on the viola broke. The violist left the stage for about 5 minutes to replace his string.
At the beginning of the third movement, the first violinist started the fourth movement and they had to start over after an embarrassing explanation.
All of these things made them seem like just 4 regular guys who love to play music together but sometimes have to roll with the punches.
I thoroughly enjoyed the evening, especially the Schubert. I ran into another friend on the way out who pronounced it the worst chamber music she had ever heard. Obviously not everyone felt the way I did.