Laguna Beach Music Festival Calidore Quartet – a review

Calidore String Quartet
Stu News Laguna

By Niki Smart

Recently Laguna had the good fortune to see, and more importantly, hear, the Calidore Quartet that visited town as part of the Laguna Beach Music Festival. I suggest you admonish yourself if you missed them, because OMG people, the Calidore Quartet were truly fabulous. The ticket price could not have been an issue as the Laguna Beach Music Festival organized several chances to hear this quartet (and other superb musicians) for free.

The first piece the Calidore Quartet played was “Tenebrae” by Osvaldo Golijov. It was explained that Golijov wrote “Tenebrae” as a result of witnessing two contrasting realities – a visit to Israel during a time of violence, then a week later, a trip to a planetarium in New York with his son. Here they saw the Earth as a beautiful blue dot in space and Golijov wanted to compose a piece of music entwining these different perspectives - a celestial peace with moments of violence.

The composition started off very quietly as a high pitched violin wavered over notes – giving one the impression of what twinkling stars might indeed sound like. Then the deep bowing cello joined in (played by the incredibly talented, Estelle Choi) and the whole audience fell silent. No one moved. No one coughed. The mesmerizing music made you want to hold your breath for fear of disrupting the beauty of what you were hearing. Next up, the Calidore Quartet changed gears and played a pulsing, beating, tense piece, bowing their violins sideways, making the strings scratch and screech, and smacking on their instruments in a swirling frenzy of “Four for Tango” by Astor Piazzolla.

Recognized for their breadth of musicianship and technical brilliance, the Calidore Quartet has won numerous international awards and prestigious chamber competitions. Beautifully in sync with each other, they finished out “Four for Tango” with a flourish, and I, for one, sat there unable to articulate anything more than “Wow, wow, wow!”

What a treat!

Thank you Laguna Beach Music Festival for bringing greatness to our doorstep.