You missed it, Winona!


From: Fred Narvaes

Perhaps it was the lack of advertising, or busy schedules (there were no games of consequence on television at that hour), but after it was over, I realized that my wife and I were two of the very fortunate few (about 20-25 people) to witness a magnificent performance by the Meadowlark Quartet at the Figliulo Recital Hall at St. Mary’s University on Saturday, March 24, at 3 p.m. My wife found the article about this concert at the top of page 7a of the March 21 issue of the Winona Post. And this concert was free! The program began with Ludwig van Beethoven’s “Sting Trio No. 3 in G major,” which quickly set the tone for the evening and made me sit up in my seat.

After intermission, the quartet entertained us with three Chinese folk pieces — “Tuberosa,” “Butterfly,” and “Chinese New Year Overture” — which were played flawlessly by Bacco Liu, lead violin; Cindy Min, violin; Kirsti Petraborg, viola; and Lindsay Schlemmer, cello. Their performance of this music transported me to the Far East, into a Chinese palace garden, with butterflies flitting from flower to flower complete with a nearby brook with a small waterfall. I found out this group has been recorded by Minnesota Public Radio, and I would love to hear this music again, performed by the same quartet. I would have gladly paid to hear this free performance.

When I listened to Frank Bridge’s “Three Idylls,” I could see and feel the intensity of these four very talented musicians as they communicated with each other with their eyes as they beautifully played the Adagio, Allegretto, and the Allegro.

It was, however, the final piece, “Four for Tango,” by Astor Piazzola, that made me realize that I was listening to the Meadowlark Quartet’s outstanding world-class performance that had the small audience and me on the edge of our seats! I have attended many concerts in my lifetime, being a classical music aficionado all my life, but I have rarely, if ever, seen string instruments played that way. This quartet reminded me of the Shanghai Quartet’s performance at a recent Minnesota Beethoven Festival, during which a women sitting behind us told her husband that she had never heard a particular piece of music that the Shanghai Quartet had played, to which he responded, “That’s because no one else can play that music!” That was the same thought I had about this thrilling performance, and I hope they are invited to play for us in a future Beethoven Festival. I’m positive we would all be very pleased.

Thank you for these four great musicians, who deserved a much larger audience and multiple standing ovations. Thank you; and I, for one, am truly sorry and disappointed that only a few of us were privileged to attend this wonderful concert. And thank you to St. Mary’s University and those responsible for bringing this concert to Winona.

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