It is always fun when a new string quartet comes to town, especially when they bring strange and different music with them. György Kurtág is not very strange, but nonetheless somewhat rare around here, and more importantly excellent listening, so I'm grateful to the Kuss Quartet for bringing it, even if short, though holding its own among the more usual fair. And the encore of Mozart's Cassation in C was entirely beyond the call of duty in such an enormous and dense program, especially considering the concentrated, caring manner of their playing.
The second concert in Lincoln Center's wonderful Tully Scope Festival, like the opening night, revolved around the music of Morton Feldman, and, although it was entitled "For Morton Feldman," it was actually dedicated to quite a different composer, György Kurtág, who is still very much alive and celebrated his eighty-fifth birthday on February 19th, only a month younger than Feldman would have been if he had not died prematurely in 1987 at the age of sixty-one. The program consists entirely of some of their best-known works, played by Axiom, the contemporary music group of the Juilliard School, under the direction of Jeffrey Milarsky, and the Clarion Choir under music director Steven Fox. The instrumentalists and the soprano soloist were all students or recent graduates of Juilliard, who acquitted themselves most impressively.