Tuesday, October 21, 2014

concert review: St. Lawrence Quartet

My review tempered the expression of my feelings. This was a sandwich of a concert. The outer parts were great masterpieces, magnificently put across. The inner slice ... was not.

Performers keep having this idea that they can uplift some worthless new piece by pairing it with the great monuments of the past. I've noted this before. It doesn't work that way - not unless, perhaps, the new work really is as great as its company, and the average new work isn't going to meet that standard. (Pairing it with secondary old works might come out better.) Instead, it only magnifies the gap.

Even the composer knew better. Speaking before the music, he expressed unease at being sandwiched between Haydn and Schubert, and he was right to be uneasy. It did him no favors, and I left feeling even more uncertain whether he deserved any.

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