March 12th, 2006


An interesting concert

Last night rsc and I went to see the St Laurence String Quartet at Jordan Hall. Their first piece was the Mozart Quartet in D Major, K. 575 - Prussian and their last piece was Schumann's Piano quintet in E-flat Major. For the Schumann they had Mehahem Pressler on the Piano. Pressler is usually heard Menahem Presslerwith the Beaux Art Trio - he was a founder of 50 years ago and it still exists although he is the only original musician. Menahem

The Schumann is one of the nicest pieces of chamber music and one of my favorites. I'm not a big chamber music fan, but this is one very fine piece - the quartet was very good and I really like Pressler - and there is something about his facial expression that is fascinating to me - he often turns towards the quartet and audience while playing so you get it see it quite a lot.

The middle piece was String Quartet No. 3 by R. Murray Schafer, a Canadian composer and sound researcher. His pieces are quite extraordinary. The first movement open with the cellist on stage playing a bass note on one string and then adds a second note a quartertone or less away and this continues for quite a while with minor variations or a slow theme. It was interesting listening. Then you can hear a higher string and soon the Violist walks from back stage playing and soon joins the cellist. Later one at a time the two violins come down the two aisles playing and join the crew on the stage where they continue the movement.

The second movement is a complete contrast. They all play extremely vigorously and accompany themselves with lots of vocal noises. The composer says "like the vocal shouts of karate". Some of it sounds like dog barking, there are lots of repetitive sound patterns some very noisy and some quiet such as that caused by popping their mouths. All of this while playing the dissonant lines on their instruments. The final movement is a complete contrast and is calm and peaceful. Apparently all of his compositions are over the top and I read it is difficult to decide whether to classify his work as music or stage.

Guana - part 3

Frangipani Guana Island is owned by Henry Jarecki, a man who made a fortune in silver and gold trading and bought this island. Although the price of staying there is high I'm sure it is not profitable. They do no marketing, don't book through agents. It is often far from full (on our last night there were just 10 guests + two little kids). Lizard It is one of his hobbies.

In the fall they host scientist's month where a number of naturalists come and do research. I read a recent report where they have been transplanting Elk horn corral onto the reef as an experiment where they are trying to rejuvenate the dying reef. This year the island is greener than usual and it was the first time we've seen the Frangipani in bloom.

They have spent a lot of effort on infrastructure with good generators, a desalination plant, a new septic system. They also have several full time gardeners and they have restored lots of native flora and fauna. He has built three of his own houses and members of his family stay there a fair amount of the time. While we there his wife, Gloria, and some of their sons and their slightly too many kids were also there. Setting Sun One of his sons is Eugene Jarecki, the film maker who made Why We Fight, another is Andrew Jarecki who is also a film maker.

We got several apologies from Gloria about the crowds and they took us out on the Jarecki yacht, The New Sovereign, for a sunset cruise.