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Last Wednesday, February 28, I had the pleasure of seeing two superb up-and-coming chamber ensembles on a double bill at Music On MacDougal in downtown Manhattan. 
 
Moet TrioThe Moët Trio (Yuri Namkung, violin; Yves Dharamraj, cello; Michael Mizrahi, piano) had the first half of the program, and they opened with John Zorn’s Amour fou.  The Zorn was a surprisingly modernist piece for a composer who is known as a pivotal figure in the downtown scene, and while I can’t say I liked it I definitly respected it.  It was one of those pieces where every note was exactly the right note for what the piece was trying to do, from the scraping harmonics of the opening theme to the moments of wildness that occasionaly break out of the otherwise fairly chilled out atmosphere.  Next was Richard Danielpour’s A Child’s Relquary, which was omposed in response to the death of conductor Carl St. Clair’s 18 month old son in 1999.  The piece is romantic and lyrical–cinematic at times–and even in the context of a trio Danielpour’s mastery of orchestration is plainly evident.
 
Attacca QuartetAfter a brief intermission, the Attacca Quartet (Amy Schroeder, violin; Keiko Tokunaga, violin; Gillian Gallagher, viola; Andrew Yes, cello) launched into Gyorgy Ligeti’s String Qurtet No. 1, “Metamorphoses Nocturnes.”  As with so much Ligeti, the piece starts out in a nice yet seemingly unremarkable way–chromatic lines over a drifting, slithering accompaniment.  But Ligeti has a better intuitive sense of effective overall dramatic structure than just about anybody in the business, and that opening music evolves and builds, growing in intensity, and by the time the athletic second theme arrives about a minute and a half in everything makes sense.  Those opening moments turn out to be critical to the overall architecture of the piece.  After the Ligeti, which was the highlight of the evening, Attacca offered an excellent rendition of the String Quartet in G minor, Op. 10 by some guy named Claude Debussy.  But that dude bought the farm way back in 1918, so I feel no obligation to talk about his piece.
 
Both groups played wonderfully throughout, and I look forward to hearing them again sometime soon.  The next Music On MacDougal concert is this Wednesday, February 25, and features David T. Little’s Newspeak ensemble.

Comments

Comment from Jerry Bowles
Time: February 23, 2009, 8:31 pm

Ah, a new entrant in my Groups I’d Most Like to See Play Naked contest. Current Champs.

Comment from Eileen Mack
Time: February 25, 2009, 2:17 am

The somewhat “underage coed” vibe of that Claremont trio pic leads me to suspect you mean the admittedly hott Attaccas, Jerry, but just in case I have to sadly report that the members of Newspeak will be remaining clothed in performance tonight!
In consolation, and to quench the musical desires of those S21 readers who aren’t heterosexual males (anyone? anyone?), may I recommend the fine pages of barihunks…
http://barihunks.blogspot.com

Comment from Chris Becker
Time: February 25, 2009, 12:00 pm

“Ah, a new entrant in my Groups I’d Most Like to See Play Naked…”

Uh, Jerry – you realize the title of this post is “Your Mom”?

Comment from Steve Layton
Time: February 25, 2009, 4:59 pm

@ Chris Becker: :-) … Busted, Jerry.

Comment from Jerry Bowles
Time: February 25, 2009, 11:34 pm

Paging Dr. Freud. Stat.