String quartet gives “intimate” concert

Lauren Heartsill

A quartet said to have “imaginative phrasing and dynamics” by The New York Times and “one of the finest ensembles around” by The New York Sun played at the Moody Music Building concert hall on Sunday.

Daedalus String Quartet, presented by the String Quartet Society of Tuscaloosa, was founded in 2000 and has played in places like the Library of Congress, New York University and Weill Recital Hall for a Carnegie Hall series.

Composed of violinists Min-Young Kim and Kyu-Young Kim, violist Jessica Thompson and cellist Raman Ramakrishnan, Daedalus played pieces by Wolfgang Mozart, Fred Lerdahl and Antonin Dvorák. The members have degrees from Juilliard, Curtis, the Cleveland Institute and Harvard University.

Playing to a crowd composed mostly of Tuscaloosa residents, the quartet opened the concert with Mozart’s Quartet #22 in B-flat major, K. 589. The five-movement piece displayed each player’s talent, with more emphasis on the cello in the slow section.

Before starting their second piece, Quartet No. 3 by Lerdahl, a scary, disturbed-sounding piece written for this quartet, Kyu-Young explained the different techniques, chords and sounds the audience would hear and the difficulty involved.

“Every time we play this piece, it feels like we’re going on a great adventure, so Raman [cellist] wishes us luck,” he said. This was the third performance of this piece. The ensemble played with excitement by moving their bodies with the music.

Elizabeth Bradt, a Northport resident who never misses a concert, said she enjoyed the Lerdahl piece, even though it was more modern. She said she hoped there was a future for this type of music.

“I like string concerts,” Bradt said. “I’m always amazed when they [the String Quartet Society of Tuscaloosa] bring such wonderful musicians. It’s a great opportunity for Tuscaloosa, and it’s very cheap to attend.”

Student tickets were free, and regular admission was $15. Bradt said people should take advantage of these prices.

Kelly Quesada, a senior majoring in cello performance, said the concert was amazing.

“They have an incredible sound,” Quesada said. “They communicate really well with each other and command the audience’s attention.”

Although the String Quartet Society of Tuscaloosa focuses more on community outreach, she encourages more students to come to concerts like this one.

“Chamber music’s some of my favorite music,” she said. “You learn so much. It’s just the oldest form of entertainment. It’s always enjoyable.”

Madeleine Hill, a Tuscaloosa resident, said the quartet was skillful, musical, well-rehearsed and exciting to watch.

“I never miss them if I’m in town,” Hill said.

Hill, who also is a musician, said the size of the venue and crowd adds to the musical performance.

“It is an opportunity to hear excellent music much more intimately than with a large group,” she said. “You feel more a part of the musical experience. That’s part of the beauty.”

To learn more about Daedalus and where they will perform next, visit their Web site at daedalusquartet.com.