Day By Day

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Listening to the Jupiter String Quartet

We're well into the fall concert season. Last weekend we joined some of our friends for a trip up to the BMA where the Jupiter String Quartet was playing. The old joke goes, "A string quartet consists of a pretty good violinist, a not so good violinist, someone who used to be a violinist, and a guy who hates violinists." Not at all applicable here. These kids are excellent! The Jupiter Quartet is something of a family affair. The second violinist, Meg Freivogel, is the sister of "violist" Liz Freivogel, and is married to the cellist, "Daniel McDonough". Only the lead violinist, Nelson Lee, is not in the family. They are all superb musicians.

They performed three numbers: Haydn's "String Quartet in D Minor, Op. 76, No. 2 "Quinten" (a very traditional piece of music -- listen to them performing it here); Gyorgy Kurtag's "Hommage a Mihaly Andras," 12 Microludes, Op. 13 (an experimental set of meditations on the D tone); and finished with the magnificent Beethoven "String Quartet in B-flat Major, Op. 130 with the spectacular "Gross Fugue".

Since the performance took place within an art museum there were two short talks between music performances on the subject of the relationship between the musical and visual arts, illustrated by short appropriate passages played by the quartet. It was an interesting experiment and added to my enjoyment, especially of the Kurtag piece, which I had not heard before. The ensemble is on tour right now and might be coming to a city near you. They will also be touring Europe again soon. Check them out -- they are definitely worth hearing.

Here they are playing Mendelssohn:

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