Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Kronos Quartet: String Theory

David Harrington during a performance of
"Aheym (Homeward)" by Bryce Dessner

While String Theory attempts to reconcile quantum mechanics and general relativity, so the Kronos Quartet attempts to reconcile sound and humanity through string.

I had the privilege of hearing them play at Le Poisson Rouge early last month. I have been a fan since college, and I'm continuously amazed at their diversity of sound and openness of mind through stringed instruments. No culture, time, or artistic movement is out of their reach.

John Sherba plucking and playing his violin

Le Poisson Rouge is not a large space, so during a performance it becomes a box of sound. In the dark, sultry room the quartet is highlighted by spots of blue and yellow beams of light. When the sound is at it's height, the only way to find the music's source is through these little illuminated beacons on the stage.

Jeffrey Zeigler's gentle intensity with the cello

As cords of instruments are plucked and stroked, so are the threads of nervous systems. You tense and relax on each new wave, never knowing what is around each corner of sound.

Hank Dutt on his viola during "Harp and Altar" by Missy Mazzoli

Sweet tender cords joined them that night, through the Young People's Chorus of New York City. Their merged voices became the fifth instrument of the evening.