Mar. 8th, 2017

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The advantage of making it today that I spent all of it doing Tolkien bibliography research at the Stanford library was that I could take an hour's break in the middle of the day - and by then I sorely needed it - to sidle up to the music department and hear a free noon concert by the Rolston Quartet.

This is a big deal, even more that it's for free. The Rolstons are one of the most distinguished of young quartets, and, as the program noted, won the Banff String Quartet Competition last year. The people sitting behind me, whom I've seen at concerts like this before, were remarking and musing on that before the show, so I turned around to say that I was there and heard them win it.

And, indeed, they played today two of the pieces from their Banff repertoire, the Janacek Second and Beethoven's Razumovsky Second. I didn't mind hearing them again. The Janacek was a dramatic combination of searing and subtly intimate, with lots of startling mood shifts, and the Beethoven was played in much the same manner, with those slashing opening chords succeeded by quiet but tense rumination.

And to think I didn't even consider the Rolston one of the highlights of the competition! That just goes to show how stratospherically high the standards at Banff were. This was a great little noon concert. And free.

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