A Far Cry: Debut (music by Golijov, Handel, Tchaikovsky)
The two pieces that had the most success were series of short movements that seemed to engage the imagination the most. Heinrich Ignaz Franz von Biber's Battalia à 10 (D major, C. 61), which opened the concert, was rollicking good fun, a programmatic work that described a battle (with stamps of the feet), the rattle of the drum (with paper covering double-bass fingerboard), a drunken party (with a cacophony of parts in different keys and time signatures all at once, preceded by a couple boozy burps -- not indicated in the score), and the crack of the cannon (percussive pizzicati). It was paired with an "arrangement" of Beethoven's "Serioso" quartet (F minor, op. 95) that really added nothing to, and may have detracted from, the original quartet version, since it just expanded the number of players on each part, aside from sometimes adding double-bass to the cello line and sometimes not. The greater numbers made the forceful unisons of the first movement stronger, but rushing in the third movement was a little out of control, diminishing the effect of the generally brash sound.
Stephen Brookes, A Far Cry at Dumbarton Oaks in Georgetown (Washington Post, April 24)
Next season, the Friends of Music series at Dumbarton Oaks will feature performances by pianist Alessio Bax, violinist Ray Chen, the a cappella group Cantus, the Assad Brothers (guitarists), and the Wind Soloists of New York.