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The GW Hatchet


The GW Hatchet

Serving the GW Community since 1904

The GW Hatchet

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Lisner hosts fiery quartet

Dedicated to experimentation and diversity in music, the Kronos Quartet continued its push for innovation with a Thursday night performance at Lisner Auditorium. The world-renowned string quartet group performed pieces from its new portfolio. With no stereotype befitting its style, Kronos members grabbed the audience with their repertoire of musical arrangements, utilizing the elements of both classical and modern-day music.

In the group’s more than 25 years, musicians have composed more than 500 arrangements exclusively for the quartet. The Kronos Quartet travels worldwide and is noted for its appeal to young innovative composers.

The quartet’s newest upcoming release, Nuevo, is dedicated to Mexico’s music and culture. Constantly shifting and bending to the whims of emotions in each piece, last week’s performance was dedicated to the original music arrangements of Latin musicians and composers.

In speaking with David Harrington, Kronos violinist and creator, he brought to light his own hopes for the group’s push for musical innovation.

“If it’s one thing I and the quartet have always tried to do, it’s to take life’s great joys and miseries and try to find that note that represents them fully,” Harrington said. “You can never tell how an individual is going to perceive a note. But maybe, if played in such a way, that note might stand a chance to change someone’s entire life.”

Harrington has high hopes for the music from his quartet.

“If I had one wish it would be that our music could stop all the bombs from dropping and wars from starting,” he said. “But until that moment, we as a group are out there to produce meaningful musical experiences that refresh people’s curiosity for life.”

The style of Kronos is hard to pin down because it is a mix of any style that proves to be passionate enough for the song’s emotional theme. At times the group’s four musicians play totally separate, lacking any sense of unity to portray a sort of chaotic harmony that resembles a fantastic insanity. At other times the musicians perform in perfect sync, producing a more classical harmonization of melodies.

With sudden introductions of pre-recorded bongos, voiceovers, laughs and other miscellaneous musical additions, the quartet performs at an almost theatrical level. Distortions of the classical instruments add another interesting element to the innovative style, bringing the audience to a state of mindful confusion before the quartet picks up once again with another rhapsodic arrangement. From the “glorious confusion” of Michael Gordon’s “Potassium” to the fun and flirtatious melody of Juan Garcia Esquivels’ “Mini Skirt,” the performance was an eclectic musical ensemble filled with twists and turns until its potent conclusion.

Very close to its fan base and entertaining pieces from new composers daily, the group believes in the possibility of finding the next Beethoven, Mozart or Shubert, in the most isolated and independent artists around the globe. Its accomplishments include recent recordings for Darren Aronofsky’s film Requiem for a Dream, and about 30 other albums on Nonesuch Records – six have been Grammy nominees.

Pros to say the least, the Kronos Quartet offered a fine evening’s entertainment. Good times, good music, with a whole lot of class.

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