|L-R: Xiaoxiao Qiang, Andrea Jarrett,|
Jennifer Humphreys, Jonathan Chu in "Strum"
The result is a high-energy hour of music with videography that gets you up close and personal with the performers—something you can’t get at a live concert in Powell Hall. And it’s a big benefit with small-ensemble pieces like these.
The concert begins with the bubbling exuberance of Montgomery’s "Strum". Employing a wide variety of techniques, the string players pluck, strum, and bow in ways that call to mind everything from Appalachian folk tunes to guitar rock. As performed by violinists Xiaoxiao Qiang and Andrea Jarrett, violist Jonathan Chu, and cellist Jennifer Humphreys, it dances its way merrily and expertly off the stage and into your heart.
|L-R: Jessica Cheng, Asako Kuboki,|
Andrew Francois, Alvin McCall in "Leyendas"
This time the quartet consists of violinists Jessica Cheng and Asako Kuboki, violist Andrew Francois, and cellist Alvin McCall. Fine players all, they bring out all of the many moods of this music.
The concert closes with Mendelssohn's Octet, written when the composer was only 16 and nearly half-way through his life. Although only around 30 minutes long, it's music of symphonic proportions.
|The Mendelssohn Octet|
Special applause is due Xiaoxiao Qiang in her performance of the difficult first violin part. You can hear the power of her playing and see her commitment to the music in her many close-up shots.
I saw and reviewed this concert for KDHX last October. Revisiting it now with HD video and surround sound, I found myself thoroughly impressed by the results.
Indeed, in some ways the video format actually improves the experience by providing a sense of intimacy that wasn’t available in the vastness of Powell Hall. Brief introductions to each of the works by, respectively violinist Andrea Jarrett, cellist Alvin McCall, and violinist Jessica Cheng add personal notes and are both interesting and informative.
The video runs just over one hour and is available through February 27th. More information is available at the SLSO web site.