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Kronos Quartet

Once again, I've been so busy experiencing all the fantastic performances the Bay Area offers I haven't had time to write about them. So, I guess I'll just enumerate the last month. Renee Fleming and Olga Kern at Zellerbach. Murray Perahia there also. Abdullah Ibrahim and Ekayu at SF Jazz. The Kronos Quartet performing Terry Riley's Sun Rings at Zellerbach - truly celestial. Oh, almost forgot the Takacs Quartet performing Hayden, Handel, and Beethoven. And, the fantastic Pierre Bonnard show at the Palace of the Legion of Honor. Painting has always inspired me musically as much as music itself. Saw the show three times; the last time ran into my dear sax player Rita Thies, who was also knocked out by the show.

Last Saturday the Kronos Quartet celebrated their 40th anniversary at Zellerbach as part of Cal Performances.  With numerous suprise guests, they opened with a new piece by Terry Riley (who was seated in front of me) Another Secret eQuation.  Using childrens' choirs, it was almost harmelodic in it's explorations.  Jherek Bischoff followed with A Semiperfect Number on electric bass.  Philip Glass's Orian, with Wu Man on pipa was lovely.  A Malian love song, with The Trio Da Kali, proved that music is universal, and no translation of the lyrics was necessary.  Guitarist Bryce Desner rocked out on power chords.  After the intermission the sole piece was George Crumb's Black Angels.  Inspired by the Vietnam War, it was the first piece the Kronos commissioned.  Bowed and struck gongs, and bowed water glasses and spoken word descibe the screech and horror of war, and the eerie silence of death.  Founder David Harrington, with John Sherba, and Hank Dutt, were brilliant to found Kronosprofit.  They have accomplished the impossible: survived as a conduit for new music for 40 years, and commissioned 800 compositions.  I think all of us long time fans will always miss Joan Jenrenaud, and the cello chair has revolved a bit the last few years. The latest, Sunny Yang, is a worthy addition.  Brava Kronos Quartet, long may you run. 

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