Tonight, at 8:30 p.m., the Ying Quartet is performing at the Leonard Nimoy Thalia at Symphony Space (2537 Broadway at 95th Street). This world-class quartet of siblings will be perform, among others, Samuel Barber's string quartet (from whence his FAMOUS Adagio for Strings comes from).P.S. No ski content.
Me'n the little lady bit.
Didn't know what to make of the Barber quartet. Everyone from TEO to the program notes to the announcer hyped the FAMOUS 2nd movement so heavily, I thought it had been transcribed direct from the great muse above. Personally, I enjoyed the livelier 1st and 3rd movements.
Enjoyed more the southern folk inspired quartet premiere (composed by Jennifer Higdon). Enjoyed even more her arrangement, un-saccharine, of Amazing Grace.
Enjoyed even more the simple and amazing auditory experience of listening to the sections where the Ying quartet played in unison. It felt like one performer. Almost spooky. (In comparison to the ensemble sections, the first violinist seemed thin and weak. It seemed the cello and 2nd violin were the glue that held everyone together.)
The Ying will be joined by folk singer and storyteller Mike Seeger, son of legendary folk singer Pete Seeger.
Mike was the best. And I am pleased to publicly correct the impresario on his own posting. He's Pete's younger brother, not son. Haunting songs. Mr. Seeger's an old man and his voice is without power, but dextrous and faultlessly, unselfconsciously, confident. And his self accompaniment on banjo, guitar, fiddle, jew's harp, autoharp, harmonica, rattles and pan flute sent shivers down the spine (most especially a piece he played simultaneously on fiddle and harmonica). (The audience was annoying at times, treating the folk instrumentation more as amusement than music.)
And the finale, a 19th century composition titled "Peace," with Seeger and Yings playing together was heart-touching. Musically, the combination was a bit rough around the edges. But the welling, out-of-time harmonies they reached almost brought a tear to the eye.
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