May is String Quartet Month: Monday Music: Kronos Quartet: Terry Riley’s “Sun Rings: Beebopterismo”

While I owned my own record store and tried to make the classical section as diverse and robust as the jazz section (I succeeded physically but never sales wise), I started to really dig into late 20th Century music and of course that meant experiencing the Kronos Quartet. So today the Kronos is our Monday Music May’s String Quartet!

and if Terry Riley isn’t your cup of tea, try an encore feature: from NPR 40th anniversary concert

The band began its set with a soulful rendition of “House of the Rising Sun,” in which lead violinist David Harrington belted out like a blues singer. Then, in a hair-raising arrangement by Jacob Garchik, music by the young Egyptian electro-folk artist Islam Chipsy ricocheted in frenetic waves.

Written for Kronos’ open access education initiative Fifty for the Future and called “Zaghlala,” the piece had not been heard by any audience anywhere. The music refers to blurred vision caused by strong light hitting the eyes. Kronos’ violist Hank Dutt drove the pulsating beat, swapping his viola for the Middle Eastern dumbek. Kronos also conjured up Gershwin’s “Summertime,” inspired, Harrington noted, by Janis Joplin’s mesmerizing version.

Finally, at the end, came the Wilco moment.

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