My good friends the St. Lawrence String Quartet were in town on Monday to perform in a new series called the Movado Hour, which is curated by Pedja Muzijevic at the Baryshnikov Arts Center (BAC). Because of its sponsorship, the program was entirely free, but there was a strange sign-up process that resulted in all of my friends not showing up (no confirmation calls = relative confusion). Julia and I did get to go, however, and the show was amazing.
After an hour of mingling amongst trays of champagne and foie gras, the quartet opened with Mozart's K.575 string quartet, followed by Ravel's String Quartet. There were only about 100 people in the studio, and ... it really was chamber music as it was meant to be experienced.
I had really hoped that my local friends would be able to go, because I'm always trying to explain what it is that is so magical about chamber music; as a newbie, you certainly aren't going to suddenly just get it by sitting in the back of a large hall. It's all the things that people never get to hear nor see that really draw you in: the coordinated intakes of breath before a phrase, the visceral connection between players -- and between players and audience --, the slight scrunching of a performer's face as they struggle to not give in entirely to the power of the music... (maybe a writer should step in here? ;)
There were a few folks in attendance that I hadn't seen for some time (Fred Chiu, Scott St. John, and Jim Chow, among others), and I also got a chance to chat for awhile with Baryshnikov himself (Jessica Lange was there, too, but I didn't actually get to talk to her). He was asking about the photography that I do, and seemed to really like the turtle photo that is on my business card.
The SLSQ always manage to stick me in front of the most amazing people.