Magazine article Strings

Sounds of Silence

Magazine article Strings

Sounds of Silence

Article excerpt

Sounds of Silence

For the bold Miró Quartet, hearing is believing at Carnegie Hall concert

FOR A STRING QUARTET to build an entire evening of music around the notion of deafness is a brave move, but for the fearless Miró Quartet such moxie is all in a day's work. For their October 28 concert at New York's Weill Recital Hall-the mini-Carnegie-their choices of repertoire might seem uncustomarily old hat, two standard warhorses bookending a premiere. However, a closer look reveals a secret thematic thrust behind the program: hearing loss-which, in the hands of the Mirós, is an invigorating, historically informed, musical tour through a composer's worst nightmare.

The group had a spectacular handle on Beethoven's B^sup [musical flat]^ major Quartet (written in 1800 just as the composer was beginning to go deaf). There was an incisiveness and precision to their playing, but they never sacrificed raw excitement to the false God of picayune detail under the guise of "truth." Rather, they not only captured the pellucid minutiae of the music's core, but navigated its cinematic turns at a thrill-ride pace. This kind of playing will serve them well in the late quartets, which we can all hope they eventually do (the Mirós just released a worthy recording of the early quartets that stands as a vital contribution in an overcrowded arena).

The same can be said of their performance of Smetana's String Quartet in E minor, "From My Life," which in their rendering was a heartbreaking string of Slavic heft crossed with a no-frills, utterly correct execution. …

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