Sunday, September 28, 2014

Guanajuato Quartets Offer Shostakovich, Dvorak & More on a Single Weekend

The first violinist of the newly formed Cuarteto Rivera, Hector Hernandez, played Shostakovich's Quartet #8 and Mozart's Quartet #19 Saturday evening, went home to get a good night's sleep, and the next afternoon as a player in the Casa Cuarteto played Dvorak's "American Quartet" and works by Beethoven and Borodin.

The Rivera playing in Mas+Ahuas (photo courtesy of the gallery)
How lucky we are that Hector and six other OSUG musicians have the will to make up these groups after their symphony workday ends. Now Guanajuatenses and visitors can hear some of the greatest works in the chamber music repertoire from a few feet away.

Afterward I was fortunate in sitting with the US Consular Agent, Ed Clancy, in Guanajuato with a friend to buy Cervantino tickets. I think we broke through a few stereotypes, buoyed up by what we had heard, while talking of this and that, including the July Film Festival. Amusing to note that I thought San Miguel showed the best movies, and they thought the best were shown in Guanajuato.
The Rivera dressed up for their concert in Maz+Ahuas, the Casa dressed down in cotton shirts and jeans to play in the restaurant, the degree of formality uncorrelated with  the hours of rehearsing that led up to both concerts.

So which did I enjoy more? At both, I was hearing dedicated musicians play music they loved, sharing their passion with the audience. I could follow the music more easily in the quiet of Maz+Ahuas but liked sitting at a table while sipping a ginger lemonade in El Midi. But, breaking news: Julie and Veronique will gladly sell drinks for concert-goers to carry across the hall. The background noise in the restaurant, while not raucous, does take its toll especially on less familiar pieces.I was glad I heard Mozart's "Dissonant Quartet," new to me, in Maz+Ahuas. Price: Mas+Ahuas $40; El Midi, at least a drink.

The rosters:: Cuarteto Rivera (aptly named for the Guanajuato-born artist): Pedro Zayas (violin), Anazantli Oropeza (viiola), Luis Barajas cello, in addition to Hernandez; for the Casa, the Toc brothers (violin and viola), Michael Severens on the cello, and Hernandez.

If you missed both concerts, take heart. The Rivera will repeat its program at the Gene Byron, I believe the second weekend from now. And possibly Mas+Ahuas will host a series of chamber music concerts. The Iconografico and the Gene Byron continue to host chamber music too. Nowadays, the devil is in the deciding. .            .

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