Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 13 July 2014

Five-star quartet finish with a flourish

Now in its third year, the adventurous annual Walled City Music Festival in Derry has succeeded in bringing the Kronos Quartet, one of the greatest ensembles of contemporary music performance, to the banks of the Foyle for a concert in the Great Hall at Magee College.

For more than 30 years David Harrington, John Sherba on violins, Hank Dutt playing viola and Jeffrey Zeigler on cello have championed the creation and development of new repertoire for the string quartet ensemble, rightly justifying their reputation as one of the most celebrated groups of our time.

For their concert in Derry, the ensemble provided their audience with an extensive programme, ranging from the jagged machinegun-like opening of Bryce Dessner's Aheym to the beautiful migrating glissandi butterflies of Michael Gordon's Clouded Yellow.

In the space of one short evening we were transported from Ram Narayan's evocative India to Steve Reich's unnerving New York via haunting Swedish snowscapes and the war-torn streets of Aleksandra Vrebalov's Serbian homeland, all without a carbon footprint in sight.

All the while, the musicians somehow managed to create a completely different, yet equally remarkable, sound world with each piece they performed.

As if the previous two-and-a-half hour concert wasn't quite wonderful enough, the quartet encored three times in true rock-star style, complete with front man Harrington's impressive leather jacket, concluding the experience with a mesmerising version of Sigur Rós's otherworldly Flugufrelsarinn which, for this critic, was the perfect end to a perfect evening.

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