Orion’s belt

By By Chase Dickerson

By Chase Dickerson

The wind wailed softly, yet firmly. A white dog yelped at a woman’s fur coat. A quiet patter of rain started to pour. It felt like a strange waking-dream.

That is to say, last Wednesday night at the Libby Gardner Hall, it was unclear whether the 100-or-so patrons in attendance were expecting to see a dreamy, starry display ala the Orion constellation. Or a stellar string performance ala the Orion String Quartet, scheduled to make an appearance that evening.

Feverish and oversaturated, the crowd scuttled into the Libby late. Once inside, the patrons stared obscurely from their seats, waiting for a ray of hope to emerge from the empty, mist-shrouded stage before them.

Then, like a pack of shooting stars, the Orion String Quartet (Daniel Phillips [violin], Todd Phillips [violin], Steven Tenenbom [viola] and Timothy Eddy [cello]) descended upon the auditorium with their brilliant performance. The audience, shaken free of their dismal trance, was amazed and applauded in awe at the arrival of the musicians.

Fortunately, the show had just begun, and many sparks would fly before the night was done.

Tweaking everyone’s ears to attention, the four Orion musicians introduced their talents with a selection from Haydn’s library (Op. 77). How wonderful it was to hear such an age-old composition revitalized and brought back to life. The piece’s power lied not within the loudness in which it was played, but in how it was executed. Truly, the amount of passion and emotion the quartet deployed was the primary contribution for this opus, as well as each one thereafter.

Following on their superb opening, the group’s next fancy leaned toward a more dramatic piece. Having been lured forward by Haydn’s comforting melody, Bartk’s “Quartet No. 2” came as quite a surprise, instantly slamming all of the audience back into their respective seats.

The piece was eerie and spine-tingling at a few points, quaint and angelic the next. Overall the song was a brawny selection. The audience was most grateful and couldn’t wait to return from intermission to find out what else was in store for them that evening.

After a welcomed re-entrance, the quartet sat down once more to finish off the night. The crowd’s appetite was then fulfilled with a selection composed of Beethoven’s fantastic work (Op. 132).

Every chord and strum of the quartet’s bows just seemed to fall into place perfectly, creating a beautiful hum in the air. To have left out such a classic as this Beethoven opus would have been devastating; luckily, it was put in, and performed magnificently.

The piece was such a gripping ending to their successful night that an immediate encore was (literally) demanded by the audience. This rare dessert was served, and a final tune of Stravinsky’s was played. Then with a final bow, the Orion String Quartet exited on a wave of appreciation.

There isn’t a single word of praise high enough to describe the Orion’s flawless routine. The ecstatic level of enjoyment felt by each and every participant was a clear and present sign that the concert was a hit; the quartet certainly showed that they have the finesse of well-trained and well-practiced professional musicians.

Yet, sadly, the night had to eventually come to a close, and the dazed and astounded music-goers had to totter out of the dimmed amphitheater and toward their cars.

On their journeys through the rain and wind, though, a strange force compelled a great many awed concertgoers to turn to their attention skyward in order to say goodbye to the quartet’s namesake constellation. Watching as the shooting stars returned to their humble abode in Orion’s belt, the crowd must’ve realized that, after such an ethereal performance, wishes do sometimes come true.

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