Welcome to the official blog of the Highstrung String Quartet!

Monday, December 22, 2008

The Living Room Concert........

[NOTE: As a way to prepare for our concerts, we host preview concerts in our living room for our friends and family. That intimate setting is one of my favorite ways to perform chamber music. Below is Justin's account of our first livingroom concert. It should be mentioned that the views expressed below are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of this violists nor the other members of quartet. -David]

There I sat on my bench poised to begin. I looked at Eric. His eyes locked into mine. He gave the motion to begin and we set off on Beethoven's Op. 18 No. 4 First movement. It sounded pretty bad too. I found myself near the end of the first page and then from the corner of my eye saw that our guests had arrived. Thankful this was only a warm-up and not the performance, we stopped, stood up, stretched, and said hello to our wonderful (and brave) friends, the David Cools family and a couple of the Winslow girls.

After talking for about 10-15 minutes we decided to begin the evenings festivities. We opened with two simple Christmas songs and then moved into a more exciting number from our Christmas pops album. We all thought it would be nice to talk in between songs just because it is more friendly, and because Eric always needs a break. So David slouched, turned in his chair in order to see the audience and started sharing something about how simple songs are hard and hard songs are easy or something like that while the rest of us got out the next piece of music. When David finished rambling we could get on to the David Martin String Quartet. The guys decided to do all three movements and so I was ready for a nice stretch of beauiful music. (I love this string quartet immensely). After Josh demolished the intro and Eric butchered a couple of parts in the middle, (including skipping an entire measure), we painfully came to the end of the first movement. For the second movement we were out to kill. The composer's work that is, not the audience. Eric and I began our unison part out of tune, then David joined, also out of tune. [Editors note: please see the above disclaimer] The third movement went well and ended with the approving applause of our audience. Yes, surprisingly they did like it.This says more about the composer than the musicians. Our audience felt honored to be the first to hear this wonderful piece of music and it was great fun for us to see that they liked it too.

Eric then led us down the path of Haydn's Op. 74 No. 3 (4th and 2nd movements). These movements went relatively smoothly. Each of us making small mistakes here and there but it seemed musical and over all passable. They all clapped and we laughed about how tiring Haydn's adagios movements can be. Which is true. Especially for the two who fell asleep.

When planning this concert we wanted to do the First Noel arrangement that we've never quite mastered. My part looks like those ridiculous parts labled “Violin 1” on the upper left corner of the music. And when it came down to the time we were supposed to play it, the others thought better of embarrassing ourselves more than we already had and skipped it.

With this we moved into the Beethoven movement 1. The one we never got all the way through the entire day of rehearals. (Or on any previous day, for that matter.) But we took the bull by the horns and plowed through. Actually, it wasn't all that bad considering the limited practice we have had with it. I enjoyed seeing the audience jump when we began this vivacious piece of and they seemed to be connected with us to all the way through. With this our little night together ended.

All in all these living concerts are the most fun in my opinion. Not only because I am with friends, but also because I think we all prefer the intimacy of the living room over a big performance space. We enjoy the warmth of the Christmas tree, and great friends comforabably seated on couches and chairs and even the floor and to get to share the music we have worked so hard to learn with those who are eager to share it with us. It is very comfortable and enjoyable. Not only that but Eric can have his breaks........

- The second violinist


lady greenleaf said...

I want to know who fell asleep.... :D

Nicely written, Justin.

Em said...

Nicely done Justin!! That was awesome...gosh..that was extremely imaginable :)...hehe....i'm looking forward to hearing you in person :)...keep up the amazing work, you guys are awesome :) -em

Lo said...

Very nice. I was definitely laughing while i read. I am glad you are able to have some what relaxed performances where Eric can get his breaks. he he.

Tatia said...

I know this has nothing to do with your post, but thanks again for your "magnifique performance" of Dec 27th, Issaquah :-)

I really enjoyed this wonderful evening

Tatiana, a very faithful admirer of Sepperl Haydn

David (viola) said...

Thanks, Tatiana! It was very special to have you and Andra join us for our concert last night. You all are invited to com visit us in Portland. It's a lot better than Seattle ;-)


JustinK said...

Well, the one who fell asleep wasn't the oldest. :-) I'll leave it at that.
Thank you em, I try to make it imaginable. And yes, indeed, we are keeping up the work. :-)

I'm glad you were laughing lo! Relaxed performances are very nice, where there aren't those bright lights and crowds. And yes, Eric needs his breaks.

-The Second Violinist

Tatia said...

Thanks ! Well come and see by ourselves:-)
I am a very new and enthusiast fan of your band, and as far as Andra loooves to drive (personally I hate it), you`ll see us soon :-)
Anyway, I felt in love with your family, as John did years ago and it`s always a pleasure to see you all.
Have a lovely New Year`s Eve and all the best


lady greenleaf said...

It wasn't the oldest......that's not very helpful. :)