Monday, June 25, 2007

Were I not working that night . . .

One of the disadvantages of being a performer is missing concerts because you're playing elsewhere that night.

Paige West, founder of the Chelsea contemporary art gallery, Mixed Greens, and the art blog, Art Addict, has a regular feature, "If I lived in . . ." in which she recommends art shows/galleries/exhibits she'd see if she lived in other cities. So with apologies to Ms. West, tonight I'll start an occasional posting of concerts I'd attend, "were I not working that night."

This weekend at Bargemusic—the wonderful floating concert series with breathtaking views of lower Manhattan—presents some dear friends and great musicians, the indomitable Flux Quartet. They offer a (excuse me) kickass program of 20th- and 21st-century string quartets. (An aside is irresistible at this point. Flux's second violinist, Conrad Harris married violinist, Pauline Kim over a year ago. They are dear friends and colleagues. The ceremony was stylish and divine, as they are. For the bride's maids' processional, Flux performed the "Quodlibet" from John Cage's String Quartet in Four Parts. Utter brilliance! And highly recommended for the post-Pachelbel set.) (There's just something about scordatura that so suits a wedding.)

Here is what's on offer:

June 27 Wednesday, 8 pm
June 29 Friday, 8 pm
June 30 Saturday, 8 pm

Nancarrow String Quartet No.3 (1987)
Weill String Quartet, Op. 8 (1923)
Yotam Haber String Quartet, Commissioned by Bargemusic, World Premiere (2007)
Ligeti String Quartet No. 1 Métamorphoses nocturnes (1953-54)

Flux String Quartet
Tom Chiu, violinConrad Harris, violin
Max Mandel, viola
Dave Eggar, cello

In highly stimulating company is the young Israeli composer, Yotam Haber, who has just won the Rome prize and was a 2005 Guggenheim Fellow. I know Yotam through one of my dearest friends, Rick Faria. Rick is Associate Professor of Clarinet at Ithaca College, a gourmet and gourmand, a lover of the work of Charles Bukowski, the finest of musicians, an expert in gnarly and complex avant-garde repertoire, and the man who introduced me to so many of the Sybaritic pleasures I now find essential to life.

I'm very interested in Yotam's music, and I love to hear the Fluxes. So it is a drag that I cannot board the Barge this weekend. But I hope you do!


Anthony Tommasini's Times review makes me all the sorrier I missed it. " . . . the Flux players held nothing back in this bracing program." " . . . the collective chaos of this defiant and mercurial music also made the piece exhilarating, especially in this gnashing and vigorous performance."

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