Monday, March 05, 2012

Parker Quartet

Morrison Artists Series, 03.04.2012 Reception at intermission of Morrison Artists Series performance.Sunday afternoon the Morrison Artists Series at SF State presented the Parker Quartet. The quartet's members are young, & their performance was so clean I could have been listening to a CD. They make a sheen sound, & no one voice ever dominates. Their ensemble & intonation in the Debussy String Quartet were very accurate. Violist Jessica Bodner played her solo in the 2nd movement with incisiveness & bite. 1st violin Daniel Chong played perfect parallel octaves in the final movement. His playing can be virtuosic, & he digs in without sounding rough. The audience applauded after the 1st & 2nd movements & clearly enjoyed the piece's sweeping final bars. In the pause after the 1st movement, a stagehand inexplicably strode on stage, approached the quartet, then ran off.

2nd violin Karen Kim introduced the quartet Ainsi la nuit by not-dead composer Henri Dutilleux & informed us that it was cellist Kee-Hyun Kim's birthday. She explained the piece's structure, & the quartet played excerpts so that we could hear some of the recurring motifs. The work is atonal & features a lot of insect-like sounds. Its mood is mysterious, nocturnal & agitated, & it ends with a shudder. The quartet played complex passages containing pizzicato, ponticello, slides, col legno & very high notes with a straight-forward confidence.

During the intermission, the audience attended a reception with coffee & cookies on the stage of an adjacent hall, & there was a raffle drawing for a set of CDs before the 2nd half. The program ended with Schumann's Quartet No. 3. The bold playing of the 2nd movement's 5th variation stood out. Mr. Kim played a light & floaty cello pizzicato in the Adagio. The unusual encore was Microlude No. 5 by Kurtág, in a neat performance.

§ Morrison Artists Series
Parker Quartet
Daniel Chong, violin
Karen Kim, violin
Jessica Bodner, viola
Kee-Hyun Kim, cello

Debussy (1862–1918): String Quartet in G, Op. 10 (1893)
Dutilleux (1916–): Ainsi la nuit (1973–76)
Schumann (1810–1856): Quartet in A Major, Op. 41, No. 3 (1842)

György Kurtág: Microlude No. 5 for String Quartet, Op 13 (on E)

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