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Classical Notes

There really is Free Lunch...

Posted at 12:40 PM on February 9, 2012 by Michael Barone

Well, what I mean to say is...the free concert given last night by the excellent young Parker Quartet (Mendelssohn, Kirchner, Dvorak) at the UofMN's Ted Mann Concert Hall surely should qualify as something extraordinarily nourishing.


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I attended the Accordo concert (Strauss, Schoenberg, Tchaikovsky sextets) at Christ Church Lutheran on Monday...vivid performances in an architecturally interesting Eliel Saarinen-designed church (National Landmark) with crisp, clear, if somewhat edgy acoustics (not particularly warm).


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I compare these two because of the impressive 'support network' that Accordo marshaled for their season: Schubert Club, Northrop Auditorium Concerts and Lectures, and Kate Nordstrum Projects. The related networking and publicity paid off, with the church nearly full (I'd estimate at 400+).


As MPR folks should know, the Parker Quartet does not suffer in comparison with any other group...they are, despite their real and obvious youth (such kids!), fantastic, and the enhancement of the Ted Mann acoustics (and the excellence of the auditorium's sound system, employed in Leon Kirchner's Pulitzer Prize-winning Quartet No. 3) only added to one's appreciation of their unanimity of of musicianship and elegance of tone. Audience? Perhaps 175, at least half of them students. The place should have been packed....


Is it all about PR? Or are all Twin Cities chamber music lovers also church choristers (Wednesday, traditionally, is Choir Night)?


Monday night I ate at the nearby Subway on Lake Street (convenient, inexpensive, OK). Wednesday night I "discovered" the Afro Deli on Riverside and enjoyed an excellent Beef and Veggie Stew...yum!


We forget the incredible array of musical activities (guest and faculty and ensemble concerts, undergrad and graduate student recitals...nearly every day) available, largely free (the Wind Ensemble premieres a new score by Judiay Lang Zaimont tonight). Keep attuned!


And keep tabs on the Parker Quartet. They are presenting additional intimate performances ("All Hearst Listen") at the SPCO Room (Hamm Building) and elsewhere in the coming weeks/months. Don't miss them!