Juilliard String Quartet

I enjoyed the daylights out of this concert. Far from being a sleepy legacy group, the Julliard String Quartet blew all the music they played wide open. And they had a distinct sound, almost a coloring, like medium-brown, almond, and cream.

The program:

  • Beethoven: Quartet in A Major, Op. 18, No. 5
    How many times had I heard Beethoven's fifth quartet? Not enough times, as it turns out. It's as if the Julliards had come across the score for the first time and said "hey what's this stuff?" It's a fun piece and they played it that way, with so many of the musical jokes revealed in the phrasing.
  • James MacMillan: Quartet No. 2 “Why is This Night Different?” (1998)
    This was an absorbing and mysterious piece. My friend Jane was especially taken with it. You can listen to it on YouTube.
  • Dvořák: Quartet No. 11, Op. 61
    I love all of Dvořák's late quartets, but #12 is played most often, so I had never heard this one live. It's such great music, and what a glorious, ecstatic performance!


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