Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Noontime Concerts: Cypress String Quartet

Noontime Concerts
Old St. Mary's Cathedral
Tues 8 Sep 2009, 12:30pm

A Concert for the Bells of St. Mary’s
Cypress String Quartet

Franz Joseph Haydn: String Quartet in C Major, Op. 33, No. 3 "The Bird"
Samuel Barber: Adagio from String Quartet, Op. 11
Ludwig van Beethoven: Grosse Fuge, Op. 133

Due to a Muni bus breakdown, I arrived while the Cypress String Quartet was well into the Haydn. Despite this, a welcoming staff member urged me to come in, handed me a program, & told me to make myself comfortable. I very much enjoyed this program, which was quite substantial despite lasting under an hour. The Cypress String Quartet makes a warm, comforting sound, & I like the good communication & sense of agreement between the players. Their assured Grosse Fuge performance feels like the result of long familiarity & much interpretive discussion.

The audience was quiet & attentive, apart from a pair of older ladies in the pew in front of me, for whom the concert was apparently an interruption to their devotions. There was a long, appreciative silence after the Barber Adagio, as if it would be unseemly to start clapping. The sounds of cable cars & an old man playing the erhu occasionally filtered into the church. The whole experience had a sanctuary feel to it.

At the end, a lady announced that this program was dedicated to the construction crew currently working on the building renovations. She thanked them for suspending their work while the concert went on.


Stephen Smoliar said...

Glad you made it there. Sorry I missed seeing you. Feel free to compare impressions with my
Examiner.com review

Axel Feldheim said...

Ah, Mr. Smoliar, I wondered if you might have been in attendance! I crept in late & hunkered down in the back, hoping that no one would notice my gauche behavior. I did enjoy the playing & the strong programming. I agree that their Barber was no mere sentimental reading. After the concert, it took me a while to remind myself what the rest of my errands were that afternoon.