Review: chamber music from memory

Posted on: October 6, 2015

In Sunday’s (10/4) New York Times, James Oestreich writes that the Chiara String Quartet, in residence this season at the Metropolitan Museum, “extended a long history of chamber music in the museum’s Grace Rainey Rogers Auditorium with a program of Brahms. But it did so with a difference… The players—Rebecca Fischer and Hyeyung Yoon, violinists; Jonah Sirota, violist; and Gregory Beaver, cellist—have started to perform much of their repertory from memory, a practice rare these days (unless the players are, say, blindfolded or performing in the dark). Here the Chiara musicians performed Brahms’s three quartets and, as encore, the Andante from Mozart’s ‘Dissonance’ Quartet (K. 465) scoreless. They have memorized another dozen works, some scheduled for later this season. They began the practice while preparing to record the Brahms quartets for Azica Records and found, Mr. Sirota writes in a program note, that it ‘somehow freed our minds to express and share with each other the characters that the music brought to life in our imaginations.’ … The performances here were fresh and vital, and those on the recording, released in March, sometimes sound even more spontaneous.”

Posted October 6, 2015