The Hausmann Quartet
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Article by your Vagabond Bon Vivant Philly Joe Swendoza
Water, water, everywhere, and only a shot of The Hausmann Quartet to drink. A shot of Classical, that is, at a little known San Diego cultural venue. It was an intimate crowd gathered to experience music of the masters, moored at the Maritime Museum of San Diego this recent Sunday May 6th. A late afternoon gathering aboard the vintage Steam Ferry Berkeley, the listeners sitting so close to one of San Diego’s most renowned string quartets, that it was electric, a super-charged spark, echoing across the Big Bay. Part of an ongoing series, this little gem had sparkle enough to demand a return visit for the remaining programs scheduled for this Fall.
It began just after three in the afternoon. I broke out of my Marina District loft, dashing west, headlong into the sun, low in the sky, a flaming Frisbee, hitting me full in the face, priming my SoCal fantasy of following Sol to the edge of the world. Dockside, 4PM, wind, wave and the whirring wings of seabirds wooed me up the gang plank into a top deck chamber of collusion entitled, “Haydn Voyages: Music at the Maritime“. The sun and sea seeped into an oceanic program of Joseph Haydn, Philip Glass and Marcos Balter. They could never have imagined surfing so tightly together.
But The Hausmann Quartet did and musicologist Derek Katz was aboard to explain why. His theme of “hidden hyperactivity,” fit the moment, as the program seemed to start at the surface of a serene sea, with the soaring violins of Isaac Allen and Bram Goldstein playing air tag with Angela Choong’s captivating viola. Just when they seemed to be on the verge of melting their wings, cellist Alex Greenbaum commanded them down to the sea. Then came the plunge into the musical mysteries of the deep, from Haydn to Glass to Balter and finally resurfacing with Haydn. In its wake, a breathless harmony of venue, vibe and vision.
The artistry of the musicians was masterful and complemented by an engaging stage presence. Cellist Greenbaum’s feet tapped and danced like a fiddler at the Grand Ole Opry. Choong sat so far out on the edge of her chair that every stroke of the bow seemed precarious. Goldstein’s eyebrows kept perfect time. The undulations of Allen’s affair with his instrument might have been banned before Elvis. All blended into a siren song of sweetness, seducing both eyes and ears.
September 16: Anniversaries
In a fascinating and varied program that will feature a world premiere by Stephen Prutsman, the Hausmann Quartet will present works celebrating significant anniversaries in 2018: Steve Reich’s seminal Different Trains (composed 30 years in ago in 1988), along with Haydn’s opus 55/1 (composed 230 years ago in 1788). Some of the earliest chamber music ever written (from 16th-century England) will round out this unique concert experience.
November 11: Journeys on the Voyager
In 1977, NASA sent the Voyager Golden Record, which included selections of images, music, speech and sounds from around the world, into outer space. Beethoven’s sublime Cavatina from his opus 130 quartet was the final piece of music, and the project was directed by Carl Sagan, whose request to turn the Voyager around portrait of Earth looking back on us as it was leaving the solar system from six billion miles away inspired David Ludwig’s 2014 work Pale Blue Dot. One of Haydn’s quartets from the time Beethoven studied with him completes this program. As Jimmy Carter said at the time of the Voyager’s launch, “This record represents our hope and our determination and our goodwill in a vast and awesome universe.”
Advanced Tickets: $50 Reserved seating, $25 General Admission, $20 Maritime Museum members, $10 students/military
Full series discount- All Four Concerts for $80 (or $160 for reserved seating)
Available at hq.ticketleap.com/haydn-voyages
Tickets at the door: $60 Reserved seating, $28 General Admission, $22 Maritime Museum members, $12 students/military
$40 Concert + Museum admission package available