The Boston String Players: From Bach to Bjork [Live Review]

Classical music is a style (not the period) that I’ve always held at arm’s length. From my days of struggling through a complex piano sonata to every aria that I lack the proper vibrato to perform, it’s been a love-hate relationship. Recently, however, I have stepped back and learned to appreciate some of these heartfelt masterpieces, and it’s refreshing.

The Boston String Players are here to bring that revelation to the residents and students of Boston. Founded in 2007, the goal of this group is to provide a platform for young musicians and artists to play established classical pieces as well as perform original works – often with interactive visual arts woven in. On Friday, October 19th, the Boston String Players, led and founded by director Motoki Tanaka, brought their talents to the MFA.

The program consisted of four pieces, one of which included an original work by choreographer Andrea Higgins. Although I was not familiar with the compositions, which consisted of Bach’s “Brandenburg Concerto No. 3,” Britten’s “Simple Symphony, Op.4,” Bartok’s “Divertimento for String Orchestra,” and Bjork’s “Unravel,” I was captured by their diversity and complexity. During Britten’s piece, Higgins performed her original dance and, while it was good in concept, lacked a natural flow and failed to match the intensity that the work portrayed.  Overall, however, the pieces were played with skill and passion – filling the hall with intense crescendos at one moment, while keeping the crowd on their toes to hear the quietest pianissimo the next. I would definitely be interested in seeing Motoki Tanaka and his Boston String Players in the future.

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