Begin the sublime
The challenge of playing perhaps the most deeply spiritual music ever written by the great Ludwig von Beethoven falls to the University at Buffalo's resident Cassatt String Quartet, as it prepares for Concert IV in the annual Slee/Beethoven String Quartet Cycle, set for next Friday at 8 p.m. in Slee Hall on the UB North Campus. The sticky wicket is the Quartet in A minor, Op. 132, and specifically its glorious Adagio movement, which Beethoven wrote after recovering from a serious illness, and over which he inscribed "A sacred thanksgiving of a Convalescent to the Divinity, in the Lydian Mode." Not particularly difficult technically, this sublime slow movement requires the utmost from the performers in musical concentration and in sustaining the intensity of extremely slow, emotionally exalted lines. When this is accomplished it gives listeners an unparallelled experience bordering on the religious. Completing the program will be the early Quartet in B-Flat, Op. 18 No. 6, whose "La Malinconia" movement looks ahead to the mature Beethoven, and the middle-period Quartet in F minor, Op. 95, called "Serioso" because of its prevailing austerity.
-- Herman Trotter
Canisius College will set aside the first five days in February for its second annual Fine Arts Week, embracing student art, films, art history lectures and several musical events. The schedule is:
Monday, 12:30 p.m., Cultural Center -- Saetveit-Scinta Trio in works of Bach, Mozart, Rimsky-Korsakov and others.
Monday, Wednesday and Thursday, 7:30 p.m., Old Main 304 -- Film Festival screenings.
Tuesday, 2:30 p.m., Maday Theatre -- "Housewives and Hussies: Constructs of Womanhood in 17th Century Dutch Art and Culture," a lecture by Wayne Frantis. Tuesday, 7:30 p.m., Grupp Fireside Lounge -- Buffalo Philharmonic String Quartet.
Wednesday, 2:30 p.m., Maday Theatre -- "Double Your Senses, Double Your Pleasures," multimedia presentation on ideas behind Baroque art and music.
Thursday, 2:30 p.m., Grupp Fireside Lounge -- "Paintings Become Music," lecture-recital by composer-pianist Persis Vehar.
Next Friday, 7:30 p.m., Palisano Pavilion -- Canisius College Jazz Ensemble directed by Peter Ciraolo.
All events except the Philharmonic String Quartet are free. For information, call 888-2790.
-- Herman Trotter
A soldier's tale
The first Buffalo performance of Stravinsky's "L'Histoire du Soldat" in a decade will be the feature of a program called "An Afternoon of Theater-Music" presented at 4:30 p.m. Sunday in Westminster Presbyterian Church by the Buffalo Chamber Soloists, reportedly a virtuoso ensemble, conducted by Andrew Bisantz. Stravinsky said that "the characteristic sounds of this music are the scrape of the violin and the punctuation of the drums," as his hapless soldier/antihero endeavors to outwit the devil. It is one of Stravinsky's most popular works. The program will also include a performance of Samuel Barber's comic one-act opera "A Hand of Bridge" and Richard Wagner's birthday present to his wife, "A Siegfried Idyll." Featured soloists have not been announced.
-- Herman Trotter
Just the two of them
Dave Matthews' acoustic tour will come to the University at Buffalo's Center for the Arts, North Campus, Monday at 8 p.m. to perform a sold-out show with longtime jam buddy Tim Reynolds. Matthews and Reynolds, who met before the Dave Matthews Band became a much-loved improvisational touring sensation, will perform mainly DMB material, but with two acoustic guitars and lots of between-songs banter.
Reynolds has served as a DMB appendage, playing electric guitar for the band in the studio and on tours. Head of an emerging band himself, Reynolds' playing gives this Dave Matthews experiment dimension and energy.
The duo will play 25 dates, most on college campuses and all of them selling out instantly. And fans of the full-on, big-sound Dave Matthews Band can become members of the Warehouse, the online, official DMB fan association. Warehouse membership includes such perks as the opportunity to purchase concert tickets before general on-sale dates. And because the band is embarking on yet another tour this spring, check out www.dmband.com.
-- Elizabeth Barr