Susan Kessler, Paris Simons

Paris’ Thoughts on the Pavel Haas Concert

October 13, 2015

A heartfelt thanks to everyone who was able to make the season’s opening concert and reception! Scroll down to view the concert and reception images, and find them on Facebook to tag yourself.

We asked Friends’ president, Paris Simons to give us his immediate impressions:

The Pavel Haas Quartet project great energy and emotion from the stage toward the audience, and demonstrate constant communication amongst the members while playing this complexly constructed music.

They played the Prokofiev first quartet with an elegant sense of structure and form, conveying the individual voice of the composer and his melody while also creating an overarching shape of beauty.

Beethoven’s 11th quartet starts with a movement given the description Allegro con brio. This performance emphasized the brio! At a starting pace that was breathlessly fast, they raced through parts, then slowing for other melodies and structures, this idiosyncratic vision of the piece was wholly arresting; it had its own logic and truth, and the quartet nailed it.

The Bartok fifth quartet, one of the most difficult in the repertoire of the string quartet to play well, was superb! From the the opening bars, we knew we were in for an emotionally intense, artistically profound, let alone technically brilliant ensemble performance. And this music is still densely packed and hard work for some listeners to unpack. But the treasures inside, as performed by the Pavel Haas Quartet, were very rich, indeed! After the concert, one long time subscriber to the Friends’ series suggested we try to bring them back in a season or two to play the cycle of all six Bartok quartets!

It so happens that this was the first stop of the North American tour for the Pavel Haas Quartet, and they arrived Friday night. They spent most of Saturday rehearsing, and most of that time working on the Bartok fifth quartet, before the Sunday afternoon concert.

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