Go out and listen to something…

March 8, 2007

Artis String Quartet Artis Streich Quartette

Filed under: music, Vienna — burnett @ 6:35 am

The Artis String Quartet was here from Vienna last week. I had the pleasure of hearing the concert both� the night before their Library of Congress appearance, and at the Library.� The setting was a living room, and I was two feet from the cello’s endpin.� The most remarkable experience was hearing Beethoven opus 127 in such a setting.� I don’t get to hear the late quartets much anyway, and to hear 127 two days in a row was a highlight of my ear’s lives.� Of course the competing joy was hanging out with Viennese musicians who graciously tolerated my sloppy Deutsch/Viennese and reminisced about the marvelous and often peculiar history of the Viennese music scene since 1972.�

One subject of our conversation was the reaction of Viennese audiences compared to that of American audiences.� It annoyed me that the Library of Congress audience, ostensibly an educated audience by Washington standards, gave a typically polite response to the quartet.� In Vienna, the end of the concert is a signal for serious listening, and the audience expects some significant encores.� I was in fact ready for just such a moment at the library, but forgot momentarily where I was.� The Washington audience can’t wait to get to their cars, as if hearing a string quartet was a sort of unexpected interruption to their daily lives.

The Artis Quartet has been together for 27 years.� They perform with an unassuming and casual elegance which makes it easy to just sit and listen to the music.� � They are in residence at the Musikverein.

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