Sirk TV Concert Review: Kronos Quartet [Bailey Hall – Davie, FL]


Seeing Kronos Quartet in close quarters always belies the noticeable texture of their playing. Their emotion always run counter-place to norm but still never fails to intercede with melodics and identity within the music. For their recent stop at Bailey Hall in Davie, Florida, the energy was there in spades with a touch of the absurd. And unlike in a larger venue like Royce Hall at UCLA, the second row here is possible giving a much more practical and in-depth look at the playing and interrelation of the performers.

Kronos has a massive repertoire to work from but, like all, personify a cross section. They, in grand fashion, did play the “Requiem For A Dream” Suite, arguably a highlight of their career, but the different themes and compositions they surrounded them with obviously reflects a darker texture below the surface. The first on this stop was “Aheym” (Homeward) by Bryce Dessner which speaks of Jewish immigrants in NY but also the past they left behind. The lingering standards of strings spin like lost memories feathering in between thoughts of loss and hope for the future. Nicole Lizee’s “Death To Kosmiche” is a little more out there using a style of music from the late 60s and combining it with atmospherics to become a more experiential experience. Here the different players have a different responsibilities throughout each movement where different instrumentation, including some further-out digital manipulators, are integrated. To finish out the first half of the concert, the quartet played a composition that was only finished weeks before by Philip Glass for them called String Quartet No. 6 as part of their ongoing collaboration with the composer. Like all Glass compostions, the heavy base of the strings adds a lush countenance but with slight variations which makes you think he is trying something new. It doesn’t come back to a melodic wrangling but shows that he is trying to push the bounds of his comfortability.

After the intermission, the mentioned “Dream” suite was performed. Its darkness and energy every bit as superb live as it was in recording with the screaming violins balancing against the beating cello. The next composition “Flow” by Laurie Anderson intersects almost as an epitaph where the last words of complacency and intention run out as if in a last breath. The last piece by Aleksandra Vrebalov entitled “hold me neighbor, in this storm” follows the essence of life in Serbia, both related as a folk element using tribal drums but also likely a reflection of the strife there specifically in the 90s. Using different instrumentation again, the Quartet branches out in challenging what they are capable of. As has always been true of their selections, they can balance between simply effortless masterful playing and didactic approaches to otherwise very difficult pieces.


Posted on November 18, 2013, in Arts Travel & Culture Features, Other Reviews and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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