Friday, October 23, 2009

The Ives Quartet

Chancellor's Concert Series
Millberry Union Conference Room, 500 Parnassus Avenue
22-Oct-09 12:15pm

The Ives Quartet
Mendelssohn: Quartet in E Minor, Op. 44, No. 2
Quincy Porter: Last movt. of Quartet No. 3

I showed up just a little late, meaning I missed the brief poetry reading that opens these events on the UCSF campus. The Ives Quartet gave a lively performance of Mendelssohn's precocious string quartet & sustained a genuine feeling of excitement in the last movement presto. Before playing the "Song Without Words" 3rd movement, the violist made us laugh by translating Mendelssohn's tempo marking as "Andante, but don't schlep!" ("Dieses Stück darf durchaus nicht schleppend gespielt werden.")

Immediately after the Mendelssohn, someone rushed to present each member of the quartet with a bouquet of flowers, even though they had another number to perform. I've never heard of Quincy Porter, but the group is currently recording all of his quartets. The movement we heard is energetic & has a bold viola part, played with gusto by Jodi Levitz. If this is representative, then Mr. Porter's music is tonal & attractive.

There were about 60 people in attendance, most quite elderly. During the 1st movement of the Mendelssohn, an older gentleman came in, parked his folding shopping cart at the front of the room, then sat in the front row, only to switch sides a minute later. He then periodically unfolded & refolded his program, which clearly bothered the lady sitting next to him.

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