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Volume 18 Issue 6 - March 2013

  • Text
  • Toronto
  • Jazz
  • April
  • Arts
  • Theatre
  • Quartet
  • Musical
  • Ensemble
  • Symphony
  • Concerts

TOKYO STRING QUARTET:

TOKYO STRING QUARTET: Toronto Farewell | continued from page 14Ikeda: I am also staying on the east coast and in Connecticut. Butthere are a few things that I’ve wanted to do for a long time but I justdidn’t have time. One is to play the viola. So next year I will be performinghere with Music Toronto again — as a violist. Then yesterdaywhile I was was talking to the audience in Guelph, it came to me — whynot the cello too? Of course I’m half joking, but I would love to be ableto play a scale at least, and get the feel of the instrument ... I don’t haveto play in front of people. The other thing I want to do is to play jazz.Quartet playing is so strict in terms of playing according to the music.So I want to be able to improvise.PM: Does anyone else here play jazz?Beaver: I’ve done it on occasion, to varying degrees of success.Greensmith: You’re an amazing drummer!Beaver: I’ve always secretly wanted to be a drummer. Who knows —I might get a kit ...PM: And in the meantime?Beaver: Clive and I have been appointed co-directors of the stringdepartment at the Colburn School in Los Angeles, and we’ll also teachsome private students there.PM: Will you move there?Beaver: Yes, so it’s a big, life-changing adventure, which is nice forus. The best of both worlds, being able to spend a little more time withour families.Greensmith: I thought I was reconciled to the fact that the quartetwould be retiring, but then last week watching Robert Mann coachingin New York — he’s 93 — I suddenly thought, oh dear, this repertoire isso magnificent. He reminded me how inspiring it is. So I don’t thinkyou should ever rule anything out.PM: The string quartet does seem to bring out the best in composers.Greensmith: And that’s what we’ll miss. I don’t think anybody can forgetthe experience of playing in a quartet. When it works well and you’redoing it all the time, it’s hard — emotionally, intellectually, physically. Wewere comparing notes last night about how draining it was just to playthe first concert of the new year. But it’s a goodfeeling — your hands are on fire at the end of aconcert and your brain is very much engaged.The daily rhythm of rehearsal and talking anddebating is what keeps you young and vital.It’s very intense, and immensely rewarding.PM: How are you hoping the TokyoQuartet will be remembered?Isomura: ... It’s for other people to answer —but I could say something. Traditionally, Ithink, Tokyo respected the repertoire itself.We were so attached to the quartet literature.So love towards the repertoire came first. Wealways tried to grasp the essence of the musicrather than showing people what we coulddo with it and trying to express it our way.Another thing was that the four of us tried toproject as one. In other words, of course everybodyhas to have his own musical personality,but not if these are heading to different directionsand if we are competing with each other.So we always tried to make Tokyo’s musicalstyle out of these four personalities.Ikeda: Undoubtedly there are some performanceswe feel quite good about, and others notso good about. Each performance is different.But at each performance we give our 100% andI don’t think we ever feel complacent or tiredof a piece. My hope is that we leave audienceswith that feeling.Martin Beaver will be coaching in Toronto at the Chamber MusicInstitute of Toronto Summer Music from July 29 to August 3 and willbe performing in concerts with the festival July 31, August 2 and 3.Kikuei Ikeda will be returning to Music Toronto next season toplay viola with the Parker Quartet in the Dvořák Quintet Op. 97 onApril 30, 2014.RECORDINGSFrom left: current TSQmembers Kazuhide Isomuraand Kikuei Ikeda in 1976with then first violinistKoichiro Harada andcellist Sadao Harada.The Tokyo String Quartet’s websitetokyoquartet.com contains a list oftheir more recent, readily availablerecordings. Most of the quartet’solder recordings are now hard to getand some have never been releasedon CD. But the Tokyo has made over40 recordings, including two completeBeethoven cycles, a Bartók cycle,and Takemitsu’s A Way A Lone. Theirlatest recording, the Piano Quintetand the Clarinet Quintet of Brahms,with Jon Nakamatsu and Jon Manasse,is the second they have made of eachof these works. Still to be released isa disc of works by Dvořák and Smetana.I’m hoping that videos and liverecordings of some of their concerts will eventually appear as well,especially to document some of the many works commissioned by orfor them, including Canadian composer Jeffrey Ryan’s String QuartetNo.4: Inspirare (2011), Russian composer Lera Auerbach’s PrimordialLight and, written for their final tour, her Farewell Quartet.Pamela Margles is a Toronto-based journalist andfrequent contributor to The WholeNote.UPCOMING CONCERTSThe Tokyo Quartet will be returning to Torontoin April for two final concerts — on April 4 at theJane Mallet Theatre in the St. Lawrence Centreand on April 5 at the Church of the Holy Trinity.78 thewholenote.com March 1 – April 7, 2013

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