sounds of Russia
Alfred Schnittke (1934-98), Piano Quintet (1972-76), live (Katya Apekisheva, piano; Boris Brovtsyn, Julia-Maria Kretz, violins; Amihai Grosz, viola; Torleif Thedéen, cello), Netherlands, 2010
other day, outside Chicago (Chicago Botanic Garden)
(Taking a break—back in a while.)
Tommy Jarrell (fiddle, vocals), “Cripple Creek,” live, Mt. Airy, N.C., 1983
Maurice Ravel (1875-1937), String Quartet in F major (1903)
Hagen Quartet, live, Austria (Salzburg), 2000
Sometimes I just want to be swept away.
Maurice Ravel (1875-1937), String Quartet in F major (1903), 1st Mvt.
Takács Quartet, live, New York, 2017
cloud becomes a mountain
—Kobayashi Issa (1763-1827), translated from Japanese by David G. Lanoue
Saturday night, in Chicago, at the Museum of Contemporary Art, I heard the Spektral Quartet. They performed a single piece, this one, which lasted not one, or two, or three, or four, but five hours. Awash in sounds and silences, I got up out of my metal chair, I looked at my watch, I checked my text messages, my email, not once.
Morton Feldman (1926-1987, MCOTD Hall of Fame*), String Quartet No. 2 (excerpt), Flux Quartet, live, 2013
this morning, Oak Park, Ill.
*With saxophonists Von Freeman and Henry Threadgill; trumpeter Lester Bowie; drummer Hamid Drake; gospel singer Dorothy Love Coates; poets John Berryman, William Bronk, and Wislawa Szymborska; and photographer Helen Levitt.
This took my breath away—more than once.
Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827), Violin Concerto; Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra (Philippe Herreweghe, cond.) with Patricia Kopatchinskaja (violin), live, 2014
Miranda Cuckson, violin; Michael Hersch (1971-), Fourteen Pieces for unaccompanied violin, excerpt; live, 2009
Yesterday, in Chicago, at the Art Institute, I heard this woman play the violin. She played for well over an hour, by herself, without intermission. She performed seven pieces: the earliest, by Pierre Boulez (Anthèmes 1), was composed in 1992; the latest, by Steve Lehman (En Soi), this year. When a performer surrenders to the music wholeheartedly, she invites you, the listener, to do the same. And I did, gratefully.
Miranda Cuckson, violin
Ralph Shapey (1921-2002), Etchings (1945; excerpt), 2009
Playing and talking, 2015
Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750), Partitas No. 1 (B minor), 2 (D minor), and 3 (E major) for solo violin; Gidon Kremer (violin), live, Austria (Lockenhaus), 2006
art beat: other day, Art Institute of Chicago
Vincent van Gogh (1853-1890), Grapes, Lemons, Pears and Apples, 1887