REVIEW: Takács Quartet (UMS Digital Presentation)

This past Friday I chose to stream the Takács Quartet’s digital presentation from the comfort of my room. As live concerts are not currently an option, musicians have had to become crafty media producers, recorders and videographers, and I was impressed with the decisions the quartet made. This program, spanning a little over an hour, was charming, and told a story weaved through one piece to the next.

Instead of playing a typical program of 2-3 full string quartet works, the group decided to select movements from Mozart, Price, Bartók, Coleridge-Taylor and Debussy string quartets and character pieces. Each player offered a snippet of information about the movement to be played, and what made it fun to play as a quartet. As a listener I got a taste of more music spanning from classical to modern, which I typically would not get from a live performance. I do miss being in the room, hearing the musicians breath and move together, but I appreciated the quality and care that was put into this digital presentation.

This concert, in conjunction with the pre-concert talk with professor Kira Thurman, featured works not programmed and performed often including Florence Price’s String Quartet in A minor and Coleridge-Taylor’s Five Fantasiestücke, Op. 5. I thought it was important to take away from the conversation and performance that these works are not hard to get our hands on. They are ready and available, but were not accepted as part of the “classical music canon”. As a musician, I appreciated the call for performing artists to recognize how we can do more to play these works because they are beautiful and were pushed away for so long.

One of my favorite pieces on the program was Price’s String Quartet, the Andante movement. Set in the middle of the program, the piece served as a point of reflection. The melody reminded me of spirituals, much like the music Dvorak also drew from in composing his music. It was serene and drew me in *even through the computer:)* I was also drawn to the second violinist Harumi Rhodes’s playing. Her tone was warm and she played with palpable intensity that made me wish I was in the Chautauqua auditorium in Boulder with them.

I really enjoyed this presentation and if you would like to check out more online events that UMS is hosting throughout the rest of 2020, I have attached the link below!


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