Friday, July 26, 2013

Barber in the Chapel

Barber in the Chapel
Yesterday when I woke up, I learned that my step-mother had died a few hours earlier. Coincidentally, the Jasper String Quartet had planned on playing the Barber Adagio for Strings (known to the unrefined as "The Theme from Platoon.") The free concert was in the Vail Interfaith Chapel, only a few steps away from the hotel we are staying at. It seemed like a perfect opportunity to reflect on Pat's passing. The quartet played it extremely well. (We had heard them play it last year in a similar concert, reviewed here.) It must be difficult to play a piece like that frequently yet keep the emotional level so high. Thank you for your professionalism.

The concert appears to have programmed alphabetically, following Barber with Bartok, which was an interesting choice given their playing of Webern just a few nights earlier (and reviewed here). To me, Bartok's challenges to tonality are far more interesting than the mathematical approach taken by Webern, and it was a pleasure to hear the String Quartet #5 played so well. There were even a few welcome moments of musical humor in the piece, including the ending. It was a smart compositional move, to reward the audience with a light-hearted moment after a piece that can be challenging to the audience.

It was a nice way to remember Pat.

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