Current Reno Weather
Jul 24, 2000 - The Superlative Kronos Brings Attitude to Nightingale
By Jack Neal
What does one say about the Kronos experience other than there's nothing quite like it? So what if some of its punk-rock attitude, dark-cave, light-show enhancement seems a bit of a reach? For Reno concertgoers yesterday's (7/23/2000) 5:07 p.m. concert at Nightingale Concert Hall was one of Northern Nevada's most eagerly awaited concerts in years.
It was worth the wait.
The exquisite taste of founder and violinist David Harrington rubs off on all this superb string quartet does. Violinist John Sherba, violist Hank Dutt and cellist Jennifer Culp fit so snuggly into the Harrington groove and he into theirs there's nothing but seamlessness for what is one of the finest, most cohesive and musically superlative string quartets playing today.
The Kronos is a package deal. Visually interesting, dressed smartly in what might be called thrift-store chic, with lighting charted to fit the mood of what's being played, each piece (an even dozen for this program) is a dig-deep set-up for an emotional response. Sometimes that response is elicited via a harangue of sound, as in Steve Reich's "Triple Quartet" (a tremendous rush of notes), sometimes with forlorn wailing, as in Aleksandra Vrebalov's "Pannonia Boundless" (a hypnotic and mournful longing). But always with everything that the Kronos plays with the unique and different sounds that reach out and demand a reaction.
Pre-recorded sound overs (and unders) opens vistas for the string quartet milieu not possible with the works of such old-world stalwarts as Beethoven, Haydn, Mozart and Schubert. What the Kronos has set out to do is to re-invent the string quartet art form and make it viable, not that the above masters and others aren't, in a way that propels chamber music into the new millennium with not so much a vengeance as with a sense of purpose, not to mention artistry - which abounds with all the Kronos touches.
What emerges are tweaks of wit, the dog and viola duetting for example in Jay Cloidt's "Eleven Windows" (an inscrutably inventive work in 11 short, looking-at-life movements), and heartfelt revelations of the soul as expressed through the longing and pathos of Rezso Seress's "Gloomy Sunday." The quartet's contributions to contemporary music, with all the multi-media resources at their behest, makes this formidable foursome avant-garde visionaries on a enviable crusade: to recapture mass audiences of intelligent listeners for chamber music. Judging from yesterday's ticket sales of two-tickets shy of capacity it's a crusade the Kronos Quartet seems destined to win.
And for very good reasons.
The Kronos is the complete ensemble. The incredible oneness of its vision, its sliding intonation in total fusion each player with the other, its ability to make instruments speak as well as soar musically, its absolute attention to detail and balance and its incredible ability to collect and play exciting new works is nothing but sensational.
And, oh yes, the use of pre-recorded music (the Kronos players themselves) was itself audio sensitive and in perfect balance with the live performances for which the recordings were collaborations. The sound equipment was played (and the lighting designs were executed) like a gorgeously played fifth instrument. At last, a sound engineer who doesn't punish and audience that listens.
The Reno Chamber was the principal sponsor for the Kronos Quartet's Reno appearance. For information about other Reno Chamber Orchestra events and its 2000-2001 season call 775-348-9413.
|Are you interested in submitting event information on this site, or would you like your event reviewed? If so click here to contact a member of our staff or click here to submit event information yourself.