Notes from Philly

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Kronos

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Alder St. Art

Bronze Sculptures and Oil and Acrylic on Panel by Jen Macdonald

Kronos Quartet
Fresh Ink Series
Perelman Theater
November 7, 2009

The Kronos Quartet makes you feel good. Like you’re living green. Saturday night the San Francisco group that commissions the world opened the Kimmel’s Fresh Ink Series. The Perelman Theater wasn’t sold out but everyone there looked exuberant. Like a jazz set, the first half began as variety of shorter works accompanied by a simple lighting design and the Kronos signature amplification. Neither stole the show from the music, all written or arranged in this century.

Byrce Dennison of the rock group The National was present for Aheyhem (Homeword), Its inspired by his Jewish grandmother’s flight to this country. The music’s- insistent repetitions – come to an abrupt end. Jacob Garchik arranged Tashweesh, by the Palestine collective amallah Underground. The added layer the Kronos brings to mix of dance, rock, edgy talk invigorates. Stephen Prutsman and Michael Winger’s arrangement of Bloodstone by Amon Tobin is lush, romantic. Prutsman’s version of The Fly Freer against the haunting vocals and bowed guitar of Iceland’s Sigur Ros is addictive. So much beauty and invention.

A standout is Aleksandra Vrebalov (Vray baa loff)’s hold me neighbor in this storm. The Serbian artist studied in the States and teaches at City College of New York. Hold me neighbor is a collage that incoporates bombs from the Balkan war and church bells in a highly evolved three-movement form. Violinists David Harrington and John Sherba begin on an ethnic string instrument and a drum; the quartet shouts; the impact is terrifying before the quartet returns to their standard instruments. Vrebalov knows how to vary the string writing against recorded sound. A fine moment occurs when her grandmother’s singing is heard. Another unforgettable moment is the raga Alap by Ram Narayan that provides violist Hank Duff a mesmerizing solo.

Different Trains which Steve Reich composed for Kronos 21 years ago was also performed. The classic of spoken word, speeding rails and strings racing against themselves continues to work its spell.

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Written by Lesley Valdes

November 9, 2009 at 5:08 am

Posted in Music

2 Responses

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  1. Lesley,
    I do so wish I hadn’t missed the Kronos. Love them. Heard them in NYC (Avery Fisher) with Jason when he was a teen and visiting from Hawai’i–great way to introduce him to “serious” music, and also to a real Mainland concert hall. Also heard them in Baltimore with Di and Milton; a nice way to remember Milton! Also love your Blog! Congratulations!

    Bonnie

    November 10, 2009 at 6:06 pm

  2. Thank you,
    Bonnie,
    Wish you had been there!
    L.V.

    valdes2

    November 10, 2009 at 6:51 pm


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