St. Lawrence String Quartet

I saw these guys tonight, with guests, which is almost always a good thing because when friends come onstage musicians are reminded that this line of work is supposed to be about pleasure and joy. Although apparently the St. Lawrence don’t need reminding.

They played a Brahms sextet, a Mozart horn quintet, and the R. Murray Schafer string quartet that is described in this old New Yorker profile (from before Scott St. John became the second violinist). Murray’s Canadian of course, and 75 this year, and featured prominently throughout the Ottawa Chamber Music Festival. I know his music only from CDs and had assumed he was a cold fish and an academic, but even on a program with Brahms and Mozart, his Quartet No. 3 was easily the standout: hilarious, harrowing, haunting, rigorous in its logic, big-hearted. I suspect I’ll remember this performance for a very long time, but if I get a chance to hear the Schafer quartet again in concert, I’ll take it.

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