Arts & Events

New: Around & About: Music--Cypress String Quartet at the City Club; a Note on Berkeley Symphony

Ken Bullock
Friday March 06, 2015 - 05:24:00 PM

Cypress String Quartet--Cecily Ward & Tom Stone, violins; Ethan Fitner, viola & Kloetze, cello--whose group name comes from the title for 12 love songs Anton Dvorak composed for string quartet, will play at 8 this coming Tuesday at the Berkeley City Club, 2315 Durant Avenue, between Ellsworth & Dana, featuring Beethoven's String Quartet Opus 18, No. 3 (actually his first quartet from 1801); Erwin Schulhof's Divertimento for String Quartet, Opus 14 (Schulhof, a Czech composer encouraged by Dvorak, died in a concentration camp, held as Jew and socialist; and Dvorak's String Quartet in E-flat, Opus 51. 

A complimentary wine & cheese reception will follow the concert, with an opportunity to meet the artists.  

$25, general admission; students through high school, free; post-high school students, $12.50. 525-5211; 

* * * 

Following up on their triumphant performance of Thomas Adès' 'Asyla' & Tchaikovsky's 6th Symphony in January, Berkeley Symphony put in a fine rendition of the mercurial Brahms' 4th Symphony--his last--a week ago, opening with Ravel's delightful Mother Goose Suite and a well-played commission premiere by Jake Heggie, an orchestration of his work for mezzo-soprano (exceptional Sasha Cooke) & chamber quartet, Camille Claudel, Into the Fire, lyrics by Gene Scheer. 

It would be good to compare the two pieces directly; the lush orchestration--based on a motif by Debussy--did not always set off the vocal line of Claudel's difficult, often tortured life, as at least several listeners said during intermission and at the conclusion of the program. Was what Cooke sang so well better served by string quartet? 

But the orchestra continues to grow under Joana Carneiro's baton, often enough by leaps, as the Adès-Tchaikovsky evening seemed to prove to both audience and the players themselves, with excellent, sometimes exquisite programming of material matched from over two centuries of compositional music.