January 27, 2006 |
In 1982, an attractive young woman clarinetist with the smoothest, most fluid tone this side of Benny Goodman attempted to break into the all-male bastion of the Berlin Philharmonic. She lasted a year. The boys in the band said she didn't fit in with their sound. Herbert von Karajan -- the orchestra's famous music director, who was responsible for creating its uniquely cohesive ensemble -- disagreed and resigned in anger. It was all but impossible not to read sexism into the players' attitude.
January 24, 2006 |
Since its heyday around the time of Mozart, who attributed to it a "glorious effect," the clarinet has had a pretty hard time. Among its greatest champions were composers such as Carl Maria von Weber and Charles Stanford, who aren't exactly burning up concert programming these days. The instrument is now associated more with New Orleans jazz, or the Yiddish form klezmer, than with classical music. "How do you stop an oboe from being stolen?" goes one musician's joke. "Put it in a clarinet case."
September 19, 2005 |
Returning to the Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts after a 12-year hiatus, the Tokyo String Quartet on Friday reestablished its sometimes debated standing as a major player in the hierarchy of international chamber ensembles. With its first violinist, the Canadian Martin Beaver, now solidly in place since joining the group in 2002, and the other members maintaining the ensemble's distinguished reputation, the Tokyo is in a new era of musical power and finesse.
January 18, 2003 |
The Tokyo String Quartet came to the Southland on Wednesday with a new first violinist and a new work. The first bit of news can cause undue concern. A quartet is a complicated ensemble that consists at different moments of various solos, duos and trios, as well as being a single group that may shift emphasis among its players. One misstep causes a tremor; a shift in personnel is an earthquake.
January 15, 2002 |
On Sunday, it was appropriate that the Tokyo String Quartet brought Mozart's last quartet, a work in which the composer's creativity moves at stupefying speed and complexity, to Caltech, one of the country's great brain trusts. The opening pages of the Quartet in F, K. 590, unfold in unpredictable but fitting ways at just about every bar. The development section serves as relief from change and surprise rather than, typically, an exploration of these qualities.
March 30, 1998 |
You didn't leave James Galway's concert Saturday night at Veterans Wadsworth Theater feeling especially well nourished. Dictated somewhat by circumstances, the program was light and very safe and, for one considerable stretch, downright boring. Someone had decided that it was a good idea for the lovable Irish flutist to tour with the Tokyo String Quartet, thereby handcuffing him to an insubstantial repertory.