Classical quartet plays Hotchkiss Library

The Cassatt String Quartet

Matthew Kreta

Classical quartet plays Hotchkiss Library

On Sunday, March 3, The Guild at The Hotchkiss Library hosted the final concert of a series in collaboration with Music Mountain featuring the Cassatt String Quartet.

Comprised of Muneko Otani and Jennifer Lechnower on violin, Gwen Krosnick on cello and Emily Bradengurg on viola, the New York City-based quartet has performed at venues across the globe and featured for multiple recording labels. The program contained three pieces and lasted for approximately an hour.

The afternoon of music began with String Quartet No. 1 in G Major, composed by Florence Price in 1929. This work consisted of two movements, the first of which was light and beautiful and the second of which leaned into more ominous and uncertain tones. In the first movement, long, drawn-out harmonies would be interspersed with quick and upbeat portions. These changes in tempo, though surprising to the ear when they occurred, had a continual and consistent flow to them that made this beginning of the program memorable.

The quartet literally leaned quite heavily into this piece, swaying in time with the music as it explored its rich harmony. The second movement switched to a minor tonality, evoking a sound not unlike mystery film scores. It captured an almost eerie air before resolving beautifully into the familiar ground from the first movement, ending the piece on a hopeful note.

The second piece of the program was both vastly intriguing as well as the night’s greatest showcase of the quartet’s incredible talent. This work, “Song of the Ch’in,” written by Chinese American composer Zhou Long in 1982, was made to imitate that of the zither. This complex piece was constantly changing tempo, meter and volume while employing a vast array of stringed instrumental techniques.

Heavy and slow sliding notes, pizzicato and plucking, even striking the wood of the instruments as a sort of percussion was utilized to bring this work together. The majority of the composition had at least three players plucking their strings, while the fourth either also plucked along or played a more melodic line.

The final piece was Beethoven’s famous String Quartet in F Major, Opus 18 No. 1. This popular string quartet is one that many would recognize from the first few notes alone. When performing pieces such as this, which the audience is typically more than familiar with, what the ensemble brings forward on its own merit beyond the brilliance of the composition itself.

Cassatt not only played the familiar notes beautifully, but clearly enjoyed and connected with the music on a level beyond making sure everything was in place. This clear enthusiasm and joy of performing helped make this particular performance shine.

While this was the final concert of The Hotchkiss Library’s mini concert series, more concerts like it are in the works for the future. If you would like to assist in underwriting next year’s concerts, contact Gretchen Hachmeister at ghachmeister@hotchkisslibrary.org.

Latest News

Thru hikers linked by life on the Appalachian Trail

Riley Moriarty

Provided

Of thousands who attempt to walk the entire length of the Appalachian Trail, only one in four make it.

The AT, completed in 1937, runs over roughly 2,200 miles, from Springer Mountain in Georgia’s Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forest to Mount Katahdin in Baxter State Park of Maine.

Keep ReadingShow less
17th Annual New England Clambake: a community feast for a cause

The clambake returns to SWSA's Satre Hill July 27 to support the Jane Lloyd Fund.

Provided

The 17th Annual Traditional New England Clambake, sponsored by NBT Bank and benefiting the Jane Lloyd Fund, is set for Saturday, July 27, transforming the Salisbury Winter Sports Association’s Satre Hill into a cornucopia of mouthwatering food, live music, and community spirit.

The Jane Lloyd Fund, now in its 19th year, is administered by the Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation and helps families battling cancer with day-to-day living expenses. Tanya Tedder, who serves on the fund’s small advisory board, was instrumental in the forming of the organization. After Jane Lloyd passed away in 2005 after an eight-year battle with cancer, the family asked Tedder to help start the foundation. “I was struggling myself with some loss,” said Tedder. “You know, you get in that spot, and you don’t know what to do with yourself. Someone once said to me, ‘Grief is just love with no place to go.’ I was absolutely thrilled to be asked and thrilled to jump into a mission that was so meaningful for the community.”

Keep ReadingShow less
Getting to know our green neighbors

Cover of "The Light Eaters" by Zoe Schlanger.

Provided

This installment of The Ungardener was to be about soil health but I will save that topic as I am compelled to tell you about a book I finished exactly three minutes before writing this sentence. It is called “The Light Eaters.” Written by Zoe Schlanger, a journalist by background, the book relays both the cutting edge of plant science and the outdated norms that surround this science. I promise that, in reading this book, you will be fascinated by what scientists are discovering about plants which extends far beyond the notions of plant communication and commerce — the wood wide web — that soaked into our consciousnesses several years ago. You might even find, as I did, some evidence for the empathetic, heart-expanding sentiment one feels in nature.

A staff writer for the Atlantic who left her full-time job to write this book, Schlanger has travelled around the world to bring us stories from scientists and researchers that evidence sophisticated plant behavior. These findings suggest a kind of plant ‘agency’ and perhaps even a consciousness; controversial notions that some in the scientific community have not been willing or able to distill into the prevailing human-centric conceptions of intelligence.

Keep ReadingShow less