Mezzo-soprano Magdalena Llamas joined the Mondriaan String Quartet last evening in a performance of three pieces by Spanish composer Jose Luis Greco. Mudas for quartet and mezzo-soprano, The Trouble with Happiness for quartet, and Celosias for mezzo-soprano and quartet. The concert took place at the Phillips Collection and was funded by the Embassy of Spain.
This was at once fascinating yet complex music, with many levels of sound and composition, and really impossible to properly digest in only one performance. The partnership between the Mondriaan Quartet and Mr. Greco is essential to the music. The quartet performed the music with infinite patience that truly paid off.
The Celosias was readily accessible and a deeply moving performance of old Spanish songs collected by Garcia Lorca. This music belongs to Ms. Llamas, and I can’t imagine hearing a more heartfelt performance. She sang with at least two voices, a light lyrical upper register and a dark and brooding lower range. This is moody music, and she obviously feels this music from her heart.
photo: BT, Ms. Magdalena Llamas, Jose Luis Greco, the Mondriaan Quartet