American Symphony Orchestra String Quartet at Bryant Park

The American Symphony Orcherstra string quartet at Bryant Park. Photo: Edward Kliszus
The American Symphony Orcherstra string quartet at Bryant Park. Photo: Edward Kliszus
Rating
5/5

This event staged on the upper terrace is part of the Bryant Park Pop-up Concert Series.

The Program:

Nino Rota, Love theme from Romeo and Juliet for string quartet

Nino Rota, Quartetto per archi (1948/54)

Samuel Barber, String Quartet in B minor, Op. 11 (1935)

George Walker, String Quartet No. 1, Lyric (1946)

Curated by William Frampton, tonight’s string quartet featured the American Symphony Orchestra’s concertmaster Cyrus Beroukhim, principal violinist Richard Rood, principal violist William Frampton, and cellist Alberto Parrini. What a treat to attend this musical tribute to violinist, composer, and instructor Rosario Scalero and the works of just three of his protégés Nino Rota, Samuel Barber, and George Walker.

Set against the cacophony of New York City’s streets, replete with sirens, engines, and conversations, four musical artists emerged onto the raised terrace under the pensive statue of the 19th-century poet, civic reformer, and newspaper editor William Cullen Bryant. Gently piercing the air with beauty, peace, design, and affect, the ensemble introduced the soft strains of Nino Rota’s Love Theme, immediately moving this participant and fellow music denizens to sigh, comforted, partaking in live music quelled under the boot of viral pestilence these many months.

Bryant Park Fountain. Photo: Edward Kliszus
Bryant Park Fountain. Photo: Edward Kliszus

Members of the quartet took turns introducing successive works in the program, bridging the psychic connection between music, composer, performer, and listener, promulgating fresh familiarity with varied 20th-century tonal works. We experienced and benefited from a broad pedigree of musical giants and works distilled into the refined sounds of a string ensemble of four gifted artists from a marvelous orchestra.

With just a taste of Rota through his cinematic Love Theme, we enjoyed his Quartetto per archi (1948-54). How fortunate Rota took time from his incredibly successful film scoring career to “write his symphony.”

Barber’s String Quartet Opus 11, composed and first performed in 1938 by the NBC Symphony conducted by Arturo Toscanini, drew us into the heralded, pathos rich renowned molto adagio espressivo cantando, better known to the world as The Adagio for Strings. It opened with its single lyric subject spoken by the violins, traded to the viola and other voices, mysterious meters, rising ultimately to its fortissimo, whispering its tranquil close.

Statue of Willam Cullen Bryant. Brant Park. Photo: Edward Kliszus
Statue of Willam Cullen Bryant. Brant Park. Photo: Edward Kliszus

Pulitzer Prize-winning composer, pianist, and teacher George Walker’s String Quartet No. 1. (1946) concluded our experience. The composer changed the second movement’s original name, Lament, to Lyric for Strings, aptly describing its intrinsic beauty, form, and subsequent ubiquitous performances and recognition.

After hearty applause and call back, the ensemble treated the audience with an encore. Bravo!

You can explore the American Symphony Orchestra at americansymphony.org/online or Facebook for live or archived streams. For information, call 212-868-9276 or email info@americansymphony.org

Run time: 65 minutes

Edward A. Kliszus

Edward A. Kliszus

Performer, conductor, and educator Edward Kliszus began his musical studies at the age of 5 and has since been deeply involved in the fine, performing, and literary arts. He is a long-time and current member of the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers (ASCAP) and the American Federation of Musicians (AFM). He studied trumpet performance and music education while attending the Manhattan School of Music and was a student of Mel Broiles, principal trumpet of the New York Metropolitan Opera Orchestra. His post-graduate studies at New York University focused on trumpet and piano performance, music composition, and analysis of composer Elliott Carter's 1974 work Brass Quintet. He was music director and conductor of the New Jersey based Union Symphony Orchestra for 15 years and has performed at Manhattan's West Village venue Monologues and Madness. He currently focuses his artistic and creative endeavors on writing, music composition, piano jazz, and as a critic for TheFrontRowCenter.com and OpeningNight.Online. He holds a Ph.D. from New York University, Master of Music from the Manhattan School of Music, and Bachelor of Music from Nyack College.

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American Symphony Orchestra String Quartet at Bryant Park

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