String Quartet

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Date Submitted: 09/25/2011 10:05 AM

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I attended the Alexander String Quartet performance on Thursday, April 14, held at the Baruch College Performing Arts Center, which is an amazing place to listen to a concert. It was a special experience for me because it was the first time that I had ever listened to a String Quartet. It was an enjoyable afternoon full of great music, and I was excited to experience the sounds of a string quartet that I would not have listened to if not for this assignment.

The string quartet is comprised of violinist Zakarias Grafilo, violinist Frederick Lifsitz, violist Paul Yarbrough, and cellist Sandy Wilson. They open with Haydn’s (1732-1809) String Quartet, Opus 54, # 2 in C major, and I am immediately struck by how the members of the Alexander String Quartet combine individual virtuosity with perfect teamwork.The music is laid out in four voices, one instrument per voice.The Quartet members provide strong teamwork, as if a single musician is playing, the four musicians empowered to make their instrument and their part of the musical offering sound as good as it possibly can, while working collectively with each of the other three musicians. I think the first violinist, Zakarias Grafilo, is especially admirable for his focused and penetrating sound. He opens with loud notes and changes to soft notes.The violins are mainly in high tones, whereas both the viola and cello play in lower tones. Sometimes, the players use their fingers to pluck the strings instead of using a bow. This kind of playing creates short and clear sounds, helping make the concert an enjoyable watching and listening experience.

The melody of the first movement, vivace, is bright and happy in some places and more powerful and relaxing in other parts as the tempo changes.This reminds me of a happy memory when I celebrated my twenty-first birthday party with my friends. The second and third movements, which present us with a slow-moving melody, help me remember when I come face to face with one of my old...