Monday, November 10, 2014

String Quartets for a Rainy Sunday Afternoon

Saturday, in between rain and storms, we went over to Broward College to see the Amernet String Quartet.  It was billed as an evening of Jewish music, which was strange because it started at 4:00 p.m.  I heard an ad for the show which said it would feature a Jewish cantor.  And there was some mention of Kristallnacht.  Clearly it was not going to be your traditional classical music concert with your typical string quartet.

Is there a typical string quartet in America these days?

I was surprised to realize that Nov. 9 is not only the anniversary of the opening of the Berlin Wall, but also the anniversary of Kristallnacht, the night of broken glass that actually lasted 2 days and was far more than just rioting and looting against the Jewish people in 1938.  After spending a morning hearing news coverage about the 1989 events of hope, it was disorienting to be plunged back into the chaos and horror of history.

I wondered what the audience would be.  I expected to be the youngest people there by about 25 years.  But there were more very young children than I expected.  It was a restless audience, with the very young children and the very old; it was a concert where people came and went a lot.  There weren't as many students--maybe because we got a special student rate, not free tickets.

So, here is my confession.  I liked the string quartet by themselves much more than I did the parts with the cantor.  But it was a good mix of music, so just when I thought I couldn't stand anymore of the cantor's singing, he left the stage.

Would I have found the music more moving if the sung parts had been sung in English instead of Hebrew or Yiddish?  Probably.  Luckily we had introductions, so at least I had a sense of what the lyrics said.  For more on the sacred music aspect of the concert, see this post on my theology blog.

And it wasn't all dreariness.  Some of the songs were children's songs (I think), with some interesting plucking of the strings and other sound effects.

Overall, I'm glad we went--it was good to stretch my musical boundaries and good to get out.  But I'm also glad we got the student rate.

We came home through increasing rain.  I was glad I had made a simple sauce for pasta (recipe here)before we went.  It was good to have dinner ready in quick order.  We watched a rerun of In the Heat of the Night, a show which takes me back to the back roads U.S. South of my college years.  Then we watched The Simpsons and I worked on my online class, and off we went to bed. 

It was another delightful Sunday afternoon, with different music, but again an appreciation for what the community college brings to our community.

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