With an audience twice as big as normally come to these concerts, Quatuor Bozzini (who make a virtue of performing almost completely without vibrato and with extremely clean intonation) gave another of their dream performances last Wednesday evening. First a fine show of new world minimalism, thereafter examples of the old world’s more melancholic moods in three such fine versions that it bordered on the sublime.
Three quartets by Alvin Lucier made use of microscopic changes in pitch, in the piece Navigations, down to a thousandths of a half tone. Obviously this is impossible to hear, but is still perceived as beatings in the slowing tempo and dynamic — almost the same feeling as when the smallest sounds become more present in thick fog.
Even more extreme dynamic variations down to the barely audible were presented in the next piece, a thoroughly exquisite quartet by minimalist legend Terry Jennings.
Could anything be cleaner, deeper, more precious? Well yes, old Europe won the game, at the same time of course as the Bozzini’s brought forth maximum closeness and stringence.
Jeney’s Ricercare captures the whole spectrum, from Gregorian chant to bitter contemporarity.
Of Allgen, a first performance of his whole notes movement from the gigantic Quartet No 3 composed in 1943 — a chorale of eternity performed as though on an organ, a deeply touching simplicity, even more elevated translated to four strings.