web journal
journal archive
www.rogovoy.com | seth@rogovoy.com

| Concert Calendar | Cultural Calendar | About This Blog | About Seth Rogovoy |
| Live Appearances and Lectures | The Rogovoy Report Archive | South Berkshire Minyan | Disclaimer |

   rogovoy.com    Web   
This is an Archival Site
There is now a new Rogovoy Report home

Weekend Preview May 19-24
Bob Dylan tributes, Deborah Voigt, Tom Paxton, Bill Kirchen, John Kirk and Trish Miller

Celebrating Bob Dylan's 70th Birthday in Style
Paying tribute to the greatest rock songwriter ever

FILM REVIEW: In a Better World and Of Gods and Men
Review by Seth Rogovoy

'LIKE' The Rogovoy Report on Facebook
Click 'LIKE' to Receive Facebook feeds from The Rogovoy Report

Deborah Voigt Headlines Mahaiwe Gala
Opera star to sing arias, show tunes on Saturday, May 21

Famed Spiritual Teacher to Speak on Nonviolence
Mother Maya in free talk at Sruti Yoga in Great Barrington, Mass., on Friday May 20 at 7pm

Special Effects Wizard to Be Honored by Film Festival
Doug Trumbull to be Feted by BIFF

Weekend Preview May 12-16
Cultural Highlights of the Berkshire Weekend

Talk about a small world
Elaine and I grew up together, but only just recently met....

Berkshire Living to Cease Publication
A Farewell from Publisher Michael Zivyak

twiGs Branches Out
Lenox boutique launches new e-tail site

[MUSIC REVIEW] Avalon Quartet in Close Encounters at Mahaiwe
Review by Seth Rogovoy

[MUSIC REVIEW] Avalon Quartet in Close Encounters at Mahaiwe
Review by Seth Rogovoy

[FILM REVIEW] Bill Cunningham New York
Review by Seth Rogovoy

[FILM REVIEW] Bill Cunningham New York
Review by Seth Rogovoy

every article is indexed here
journal archive
[MUSIC REVIEW] Amstel Quartet, The Clark

The Amstel Quartet
August 7, 2007

Remco Jak, soprano saxophone
Olivier Sliepen, alto saxophone
Bas Apswoude, tenor saxophone
Ties Mellema, baritone saxophone

review by SETH ROGOVOY, editor-in-chief and critic-at-large, BERKSHIRE LIVING Magazine

(WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass., August 8, 2007) -- Who needs violins, harpischords, organs, and pianos?

For that matter, who needs a symphony orchestra?

For one night at least, that's the sensation a listener took away after being bathed in the vibrant colors and gorgeous textures of the Amsterdam-based Amstel Quartet, in a concert at The Clark.

In an artfully programmed concert that had built-in structure and symmetry among six numbers spanning the early-seventeenth to late-twentieth centuries, the quartet jumped from works by JS Bach to Philip Glass, from the Russian Alexander Glazunov to the Dutch Merlign Twaalfhoven.

The concert began with a twelve-year-old piece by American composer Michael Torke called July, a fitting choice as it emanated from the school of minimalism (and the concert program ended officially with Philip Glass's Concerto for Saxophone Quartet, written the same year) but also incorporated some lovely lyricism.

Jan P. Sweelinck's Chromatic Fantasy was a transcription of the seventeenth century Dutch composer's exercise for harpsichord. As its name implies, it relied on the simple beauty of chromatic scales and interlocking counterpoint, and the quartet was at its best in this sort of playing, where the four parts became greater than their unitary sum.

The second half of the concert opened with Gram of Time, a short piece by contemporary Dutch composer Merlijn Twaalfhoven, which seemed to come from the school of Ligeti in its abstract spontaneity and unscaled music of the spheres. It was a work of incredibly surprise and beauty, with notes and patterns emerging from nowhere and disappearing as quickly. It was as much about sound and resonance as what we normally think of as linear music, in its short run really creating its own sound universe.

The transciption of JS Bach's Nun komm der Heiden Heiland, originally written for organ or piano, was related to the earlier Chromatic Fantasy, and once again made one think why bother with a keyboard when four saxophones can shimmer with such profoundly resonant and spiritual sound, especially these four saxophones played by the young quartet of musicians who are seemingly psychically attached to each other.

The Philip Glass concerto that closed the evening was exciting, but the unlisted encore, Samuel Barber's Adagio for Strings, was even more brilliant, as it drove home the point that a string quartet has nothing on a saxophone quartet, that the saxophone quartet has an equal or greater variety of tones, that it can shimmer with vibrato, create new colors out of blends, and be so ever more dynamic.

In the end, the Amstel Quartet's concert at The Clark was one of the highlights of the 2007 summer cultural season.

...sites that work