Chamber Music Sedona
The Danish String Quartet
St John Vianney Church
February 2, 2014
Here it is, my very first review from my new home in Sedona, AZ!
And how timely is it that this wonderful ensemble, the Danish String Quartet, have a show right on the weekend of my very first week being here? I could not have planned this any better!
And all people are talking about otherwise on this day was the Super Bowl 😉 I couldn’t even see it anyway since the place I was staying at didn’t have cable.
St. John Vianney Church at first seemed like a very unlikely place for a progressive chamber concert, but remembering having seen Lisa Moore doing
something considerably more experimental at a previous event at a NY church, it then felt like the norm.
The Danish String Quartet had 3 of the most dynamic, exploratory and very rich works written for quartet on this program. I personally would have
placed the Hans Abrahamsen work Quartet #1 “Ten Preludes” as the 2nd piece rather than as the opener, as it opens with a flourish of dissonance
that probably ruffled a few feathers in the audience, but it did have some more melodic moments, and even had what sounded like a Mozartian throwback for its final prelude.
Following the Mendelssohn String Quartet #2 (which was in the same key as the Beethoven), the most enriching feature of the program had to be Beethoven’s String Quartet No. 15 in A minor, Op. 132. I don’t need to remind anyone why this is one of the most progressive works ever written, but the third movement marked “Heiliger Dankgesang eines Genesenen an die Gottheit, in der lydischen Tonart. Molto adagio – Neue Kraft fühlend. Andante – Molto adagio – Andante–Molto adagio. Mit innigster Empfindung” is truly a moment of spirituality in the form of naked chamber music–Had Beethoven written it for orchestra as part of a symphony, it would have been possibly the most unprecedented music in history, more than his own 9th Symphony. It was especially an inspiration to experience this as the view of the red mountains of Arizona in the window behind the ensemble could be seen.
The quartet was in such exciting command of the repertoire, and were in supremely virtuosic mode for the program they chose. My sister who was with me even noticed that they had a very apparent rhythmic presence, occasionally tapping their feet in time.
I’m quite glad that there are still musical cultures to tap into anywhere in the country, and I hope to continue to bring my thoughts to you all here in mostly sunny Sedona.