Notes from Philly weblog

Jasper’s Philly debut

leave a comment »

Jasper Quartet
Astral Artists
October 17, 2010
Trinity Urban Center

The Jasper Quartet opened Astral Artists’ season Sunday. The debut was thrilling, Four strings, none under 30, in a town where we are accustomed to great quartets. The artists, in residence at Oberlin Conservatory, played Schubert, Beethoven and Aaron Kernis. Trinity Center for Urban Life was packed: this audience knows what to expect. But the Jasper Quartet was even by Astral’s standard’s a surprise: the refinement, the beauty of tone – the rich, unified sonority – it reminded of eminences. —–

The Schubert Quartetsatz could not have not have made a better start: a string cyclone, pulsing out its melancholy. Then, Kernis’s Second Quartet (Quartet No. 2) the one that won the Pulitzer. The first movement (“Overture”) is built upon Baroque and Renaissance dances though they change so fast that unless he’d told you (which he did) you couldn’t have known. The structural integrity and intensity of the music is adept: the mix of old and new. “Sarabande Double, Sarabande Simple” has some beautiful ideas beautifully and cohesively linked though one stretch begins to veer toward the sentimental. The finale, “Double Triple Gigue Fugue,”is inspired by the finale of Beethoven’s Opus 59, No. 3, Razumovsky. Ideas crash and topple on another. The music makes a furious chaos. It blisters and these superlative players also make it work.

Beethoven’s Op. 59, No, 3 in C Major concluded. Hearing it in context with Kernis’s homage underscored Beethoven’s emotional struggles with his deafness which violist Sam Quintal discussed before the Jasper performed. Those brooding dissonances to set into balance the coming heroism. The singularity of the Andante’s unbearable lightness. The amazing fugue.

The Jasper’s sensitive members are J. Freivogel and Sae Niwa; cellist is Rachel Henderson Freivogel. Violist Quintal has an uncannily beautiful tone.


Written by Lesley Valdes

October 18, 2010 at 3:30 am

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: