Last Chance to See Calder Quartet

Four men, four bows
Photos courtesy of Calder Quartet

By JOHN HARLOW | Editor-in-Chief

Although The Broad Stage lurks handsomely across the cultural divide into Santa Monica—and not the Montana end either—it was forged by Palisadian multi-hyphenate Dale Franzen and, it emerges, according to the latest marketing data, Palisadians are among its most loyal followers.

Also, as a theater on the Westside, and a lot more traffic-friendly than the UCLA sprawl of Royce and Freud (where you can spend 30 minutes parking and finding your seat), it does offer some extraordinary alternatives to another night of Netflix.

Case in point: Calder Quartet.

Right now, they could not be hotter. (Sorry.)

This is the kind of classical ensemble that breaks boundaries: Yes, they appear at the Lincoln Center in New York, Wigmore (aka “The Wiggie”) in London, Hollywood Bowl, Salzburg Festival and Ojai Music Festival, curated by the ever-impish Peter Sellars.

But they have also guested on late night shows hosted by Jimmy Kimmel, Conan O’Brien and on KCRW’s Morning Becomes Eclectic.

They recorded a live concert with The Airborne Toxic Event at the Walt Disney Concert Hall—the most memorable moment, judged by YouTube hits, was “The Book of Love.”

They reinvigorated the Stephen Merritt tune, long hijacked by wedding planners, refreshing both its tenderness and absurdity.

In images, the quartet look maybe a tad too controlled, all men cut from a Euro-culture cloth, their album covers rarely hinting of the heat inside.

But in concert, they rock.

Or, to put it in more restrained terms, to quote Mark Swed of the Los Angeles Times, they are one of America’s most satisfying and enterprising quartets.

Yet, sadly, as artists-in-residence at the Broad, they are coming to the end of their sojourn on the Westside.

Their last concert will be on Sunday, April 29—with a talk in advance to make sense of the program that completes their lauded Beethoven cycle (“String Quartet No. 15”) with work by the spacey Hungarian contemporary composer György Kurtág.

It will be a sweet farewell to the quartet who are not scheduled to perform in this area again in 2018.

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