We attended a concert last night by the Jupiter String Quartet. Fabulous. Their first piece was Haydn’s last finished quartet, opus 77 # 2. Elegant. The last piece was a quartet Mendelssohn wrote when he was only 18. Lots of late LvB in it — dynamic, evocative, surprising. But the middle piece, opus 83 #4 by Shostakovich, put me away. In his “real” music (i.e., that composed not under the thumb of Stalin) Shostakovich is familiar with every sort of cage, and his music never signals any sort of exit. Each movement began in meditation, spiked in frenzy, and ended like a prayer.
The whole concert was “emcee’d” by Fred Child, of American Public Radio’s Performance Today. I’ve listened to him a lot, and often have had the experience of closing my eyes and feeling like I was in the performance hall. Last night I was in the performance hall, closed my eyes, and felt like I was listening to the radio.