Thursday, January 26, 2006

Got our first look at the new(ish) Harris Theater last night for a Vermeer 4tet performance. The space is acoustically warm, though something about the denim-hard wall surfaces made me think of pointy shoulders and Pat Benetar. The lobby is striped with fluorescence like the donor’s passage under the stairs in the Seattle Public Library by Koolhaas. (Find my picture of that.) I’m with it/catching on to all such tanning bed decors, but there’s no escaping that it makes an odd setting for blue rinses and Romanticism. Anyhow, the music was mellifluous, played with the sensitivity of an ensemble of such experience. Began with a leafy Mozart piece that made me think of paintings by Rousseau for some reason, can’t quite find the relationship there, except the leafy. What we really went for was the Shostakovich (String Quartet No. 10 in A-flat major, Op. 118). The careening violins of the Mozart piece moments before were quickly under fire from the swollen, brooding low end. I was a bit nervous through the first movement as our audience neighbors decided to get flappy with papers, sinusitis. But the torrential, accusatory second movement shut everyone up. The third movement sounded more resigned, mournful, and the violins were given more opportunity for the prosaic, but the cello still asserted itself like an ancestor in the fertile earth. Then the viola was given a slightly jaunty bit while the violins droned beneath, which did offer a transition to a glint of sober light, plucky with levity. At the pinnacle of some violinic optimism, they were tackled by cello and viola and with a seemingly buffeting supervision took up the coda restrainedly, before tidily ending with an open question. This is, I guess, how someone without a music education hears this. Way off, perhaps, from the accuracy of mathy tonics, but I feel about them like I feel about math and floss. We left before the gilded Tchaikovsky could supplant the lingering dissonance. Supplanted anyway soon in the Jewel by Bizarre Love Triangle.


Post a Comment

<< Home