They say that watching a master at work lights up the same regions of the brain as if you were executing the work yourself. That is to say – if you were to watch a tennis champion win Wimbledon with an EKG glued to your temples, it would be as if you were playing tennis yourself. Masters, experts, geniuses... pinnacles of human achievement. They show us what is possible.
Inspiration is essential in an age of uncertainty, when it seems like we're living at the bottom of a gravity well of despair, where everything is conspiring to dull your shine, to make you docile and easily controllable. When you feel like everything you see and hear is a copy of a copy of a copy, endlessly degraded, it is refreshing to find an unbroken thread of Illumination. Brilliance is not easily marketable.
But then you have the Jerusalem Quartet, that have dedicated their lives to sawing away at wooden boxes stretched taut with catgut. It would be preposterous if it weren't so beautiful. The ambitious young quartet, who has been described by The Strad as "one of the young, yet great quartets of our time," have undertaken to perform all 15 of Dmitri Shostakovich's String Quartets.
March 11th, 2013 @ Lincoln Hall, Portland