The Emerson Quartet concert was not the first classical music concert I have ever attended but it was one of those that definitely exceeded my expectations. The energy and emotions that the quartet channeled to the audience through their live performances of Haydn’s Sunrise, followed by Libermann’s harmonious blend of all four instruments, and honestly, nothing is better than music at its rawest state: no amplifier, no mic, no audio effects, just the musicians and their gear in front of the contemplating audience.
Throughout the concert, even though all performances were extremely impressive, one that blew me nd one, the most recent composition among the three by Libermann. As I already had a feeling before the first note was even played, this piece would not follow the typical “classical” music structure found in the work of Haydn and Schubert. If it was quite easy to predict the melody that would follow while listening to Sunrise and Rosamunde, then it was impossible for me to do the same while listening to Libermann’s work.
In the latter, not many chords belonging to the same tonic pitch could be found “relating” to one another, and it was also challenging to identify the tonic pitch, especially when it was neither the beginning or the end of a movement. For me, it almost felt like this performance was a chaotic mixture of irrelevant chords with the aim to bring the audience into the turbulent world of the hero of a classical novel, like Heathcliff from Wuthering Heights.
Furthermore, the slight screeching sound made by the cellist, Paul Walkins, while he bowed, before his cello emitted any sound, and also the way all four musicians played their instruments, added a lot of tension to the atmosphere of the performance. I felt as if the quartet was trying to recreate the sound of a waterphone, a very popular inharmonic acoustic percussion instrument consisting of a stainless steel resonator bowl with a cylindrical neck and brown rods, used in horror movies. The performance of Libermann’s work was comparable to a live theatrical play filled with twists and turns, fear and desperation, that almost shocked me as a Based on my experience with music, I believe we will be able to focus on and enjoy music better with our eyes closed. By closing my eyes throughout the concert, I got a rid of all the visual distractions.
When darkness was all that I could see, it was very easy for me to visualized scenes that I would create to illustrated the story that I thought the composer was trying to tell through their work. Also, the fact that the performance is live made the whole experience, listening and visualizing, extremely real and “full of life”. All in all, this experience really made me appreciate live music even more than I did before, for it gave me an indescribable energy that took me back in time and into worlds that I can only unconsciously enter in my dreams.