Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Rochberg String Quartet no. 3

Earlier today, I went to a friend's house in Lenox, Mass, to hear four students from the Tanglewood Music Center perform Rochberg's String Quartet no. 3. Their coach, Andrew Jennings, was in attendance, as were about twenty other new music afficionados who had come to hear this work, created for the Concord String Quartet (of which Mr. Jennings was a violinist) in 1972.

I know Mr. Rochberg by name only; I knew none of his music before today. A score to the Transcendental Variations for string orchestra, taken from the middle (3rd) movement of this quartet, sits on my shelf, waiting to be perused. Studied. Well, opened.

But today, with the help of Katherine, Stephanie, Pei-Ling and Catherine (I don't know if I got the spelling of their names right, and they didn't tell me their last names, but I do know that they are from North Dakota, Houston, Taiwan and San Francisco, respectively, and that they are 3- to 4-year veterans of Tanglewood, and that they all met at Rice University in Houston, but that this was the first time they had ever played together as a quartet. . . sorry for the run-on), those of us in the living room audience were treated to a concert that I will never forget for as long as I live. It was a seminal event.

Thank you, Jan and Hermine, for inviting me.

and thank you, Fromm Quartet, for introducing us to this masterpiece, and for playing it with such devotion, technical virtuosity, and passion.

1 comment:

CubanBach said...

I am so glad you discovered the Rochberg 3rd String Quartet. I have known it since the 70s when I was thinking of being a composer myself. And it blew me away in exactly the same way it struck you! I actually wrote Mr. Rochberg and he gave me some really important words of wisdom about composing that I will never forget. Basically he said, learn music and music theory inside out - then and only then will I be able to write down what I really want to express.

Cheers! Enrique/Miami