It’s been quite a week. I’ve been spending the last three nights playing Georg Haas’ Third String Quartet “In Darkness”, which as you might expect, is actually performed in a completely darkened concert venue. In this case the venue was the hemispherical Kendall Planetarium at the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI).
I was terrified at the prospect of playing this piece when it was first pitched to me by Third Angle artistic director and violinist Ron Blessinger. I’m not a musician who is suited to memorizing material, and given that this piece was to be played in complete darkness, memorization was a given. But I overcame my initial resistance and took the plunge. I am so glad that I did. Playing this piece has been one of the musical highlights of my career thus far. The opening of my sense of hearing just by virtue of the lack of visual cues, and the need to discern harmonies and find my place in them without having the voicing worked out beforehand, was exhilarating. Embracing the improvised aspects of the piece, and savoring the extraordinary receptiveness of our audiences, was incredibly rewarding. It was in many ways all that I hoped that a musical experience could be, and by and large, our audiences and critics agreed.
Here are the five (!) reviews of the run that we’ve received so far – and if you ever get a chance to hear this piece within a three hour drive of where you live: take it. You won’t regret the experience.
- Third Angle at TBA: Transcendence in total darkness (Oregonian)
- TBA Diaries: Third Angle New Music: In the Dark (Willamette Week)
- Local Action: Third Angle (Portland Mercury)
- TBA:13: In the Dark: The problem of perfection (Oregon Arts Watch)
- TBA Review: Third Angle New Music (Portland Monthly Culturephile)