Thursday, January 28, 2010

Music for Cats

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My quartet has begun rehearsing in preparation for our April 11th chamber concert. It's the most ambitious program we've tackled to date: Bartok 3rd Quartet, Brahms 1st quartet and the Mozart viola quintet. When we rehearse as a quartet we take turns hosting the group in our homes. The first time we rehearsed the Bartok we were at Miro's house. The music is dense and difficult. Rehearsing was slow going. Bartok calls for many extended techniques in this quartet. There are passages played ponticello, or very near the bridge to intentionally create an eerie scratchy sound. There are also many places where we slide between notes. It was while we were rehearsing one such place that we began to hear a strange noise that wasn't coming from our instruments. It was loud and primal. It was one of Miro's cats singing along with the music. Yes, the 3rd Bartok string quartet is a piece that makes cats howl.

I know, this is not a great endorsement of our April concert. After the howling ceased, though, both cats came and sat on the couch right next to the quartet. Usually Miro's cats make a brief appearance to check out the group and then retreat to a quiet corner. They must have been howling in appreciation.

This morning the group will meet at Andy's house to rehearse. We'll see if his cat loves Bartok too.


GeekMusician said...

So I guess the cats would be in favor of applause during performances, eh?

KSO blogger Andy said...

Ha! Yes, the cats approach classical music like jazz and howl their appreciation at will. I will admit being distracted by that, but it was mostly because I was laughing so hard I couldn't see my music.