Sunday, November 17, 2019

Encounter with the Modigliani Quartet

On a Sunday afternoon in mid-November, we experienced a concert by this monumentally talented string quartet. The concert took place in a church in an up-scale neighborhood near one of the campuses of the University of Minnesota.
Here in a universal denomination Christian church, a diverse crowd has jammed into almost every available pew and seat in the vaulted sanctuary to enjoy a concert of chamber music. And enjoy we did. The concert consisted of lesser known pieces by Stravinsky, Hayden and Tchaikovsky.
The three Stravinsky pieces were precise, detailed and careful. As the concert continued, we noticed the richness, the fullness of the sound. It became clear that there was more to the experience than the expertise of the players, the sensitive interpretation, the obvious genius in the compositions.
After the intermission and the Tchaikovsky Quartet No. 3 in E Flat minor, Opus 30, filled the hall, it became even more apparent that it wasn’t just the music, or the talent of the musicians. It wasn’t the hall or the audience, but there was a unique presence. Each of the four musicians was performing on an outstanding and ancient instrument. From two Guadagnini violins dating from the 1700’s to a viola created in 1660 and a cello that dates to 1706, the quality of the sound from these four special stringed instruments is noticeable in their rich, mellow spectacular vibrations. The sounds of the quartet of strings immeasurably enhanced our experience of the pieces we experienced. It was yet another rivh experience in the thirty-five year old series of Music in The Park.