Gigs, dance, art

May 4th, 2009: Kronos Quartet

@théatre de la ville

Early May usually means it’s time for a Kronos Quartet performance, it’s been that way for years. There’s no telling what those will be like beforehand, and that’s a big part of the draw. So even though this years was not one of my favorites, that’s par for the course and not a complaint.

They started with Hanna Kulenty‘s String Quartet n04 (A Cradle Song). It was the most typically contemporary classical part of the evening, as I expected from the programme notes. What I didn’t expect was that it would be my favorite this time. I loved the density of the sound, where all members of the quartet contributed at all times, and the balance between an almost melodic side and some engrossing sound textures.

Aleksandra Vrebalov’s …hold me, neighbor, in this storm… had parts that sounded more like traditional eastern European music in between more regular stuff. The earlier part also involved a small fiddleish intrument as well as a drum, the later making occasional appearances later. Pretty cool overall, but I thought the different parts were a bit too separate. On the other hand I guess that makes some sense as there as probably other ways in which the different traditions of the former Yugoslavia can be just too separate.

After that they left the stage to Omayoun Sakhi on rubab and Salar Nader on tablas. That was actually my first contact with Afghan music, and it was quite good and interestingly related to Indian music yet pretty different as well. Maybe it was in part because I didn’t expect that kind of stuff, but I thought it dragged on a little too much. That instrument is quite a nice one though, and the musicians are talented. Sakhi especially stood out, as was to be expected. As he was the composer of the final piece that would see them join Kronos, that performance raised my expectations.

So after a short break the six of them performed Homayoun Sakhi’s Rangin Kaman. I didn’t like it much, expect the final part. Most of the piece was more like alternating solo parts with the others either stopping altogether or keeping in the background. That was disappointing because I thought it failed to make use of the possibilities of a quartet and was less a combination with western music as kinda putting both side by side with too little meeting. The end was promising in that respect, with them playing together and the clear cut alternating parts replaced by a shifting focus that was kinda what I was missing before. Too bad it only happened at the end, but on the other end that’s a good sign for his future works, as far as I’m concerned.


May 8, 2009 - Posted by | Music | , ,

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