This groupmuse happened on Thursday, May 11, at 6:30 PM.

Thu, May 11, 2017, 6:30 PM

Central Park, New York

Explore the wider classical music world outside of Groupmuse with an exclusive discount to this concert.

$25

Regular tickets
($40 at the door)

$15

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This is not our first Night Out at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, but it's our first that features Johannes Brahms' fabled masterwork: The Clarinet Quintet, brought to our ears by the world-renowned Chiara String Quartet and a clarinetist every bit their match in Todd Palmer. The Chiara will also premier a new quartet by the award-winning American Pierre Jalbert.

These tickets normally start at $40, but, because we're groupmuse, we've got a whole stack of them for $25! So bring a friend, and blow your mind!

The music starts at 7pm, but we encourage you to show up as much as an hour early, enjoy a glass of wine, and hobnob with other Groupmusers and culture-lovers.

Also, the ticket purchase gets you all-day access to the Museum. If you show up earlier in the day, pick up your tickets at the box office in the Great Hall and head on into to the Met's hallowed halls. The Museum closes at 5.15pm and the doors to the concert hall don't open until 6pm, but from 5.15-6 you can wait inside if you just show your ticket to a security guard. They’ll point you in the right direction. Alternatively, you can hang out in Central Park on an evening in May for a bit. Worse things have happened!

Enjoy!

IMPORTANT LOGISTICAL INFORMATION
- Enter at the ground level entrance at 83rd Street and Fifth Avenue, NOT the main entrance - it won't be open.
- Pick up your tickets at the Grace Rainey Rogers Auditorium. It opens at 6pm - feel free to come early and get a glass of wine.


The Clarinet Quintet (1891) comes from the last period of Brahms’ creative life. The hero of Beethovenian Romanticism was entering his twilight years as a revered and beloved master. It was the end of a great and important cycle in western cultural history - modernity was right around the corner with the car, the airplane, The Great War - and Brahms could feel it in the air.

He’d actually already officially retired from composing. The ever-insecure genius had decided, at only 57 years of age, that the world had no use for a dinosaur stuck in the conventions of the classical forms - symphonies, concerti, string quartet, all of which he’d mastered. In response to the burgeoning New Age of industry and big cities - and its attendant disillusionment - artists had started deliberately challenging the forms. In a few short years, they would shatter completely, leaving Brahms a dated old grouch. He didn’t want that.

But then he met Richard Mühlfeld, a clarinetist so deep and so inspired that he evoked a late summer in Brahms - and he picked up his pen once again. Some of Brahms' deepest thoughts come from this late period of his life, including a clarinet trio, two sonatas for clarinet and piano, and this clarinet quintet (for clarinet and a string quartet), which reigns supreme.

The sense of sad farewell that undergirds the swirling warmth of the Clarinet Quintet speaks of a old master at the end of his days and at the changing of the guard. He’d brought chamber music to some if its greatest heights and this is something of a capstone - arguably his finest achievement. It perfectly embodies the seeming paradox at the center of Brahms’ creation - a true and raw emotionality with a breathtaking craftsmanship and attention to form and detail. He’s a bleeding heart but he’s also a watchmaker, and as the strings and the velvet clarinet ribbon around one another through four movements - with swells of sadness and lullabies and moments of verve and humor - Brahms bears witness to a vision of a world fast disappearing into the past.

If you don't know the Clarinet Quintet, do yourself a favor and take five minutes with the third movement right now. In the opening moments, listen to the matte and humble clarinet wandering almost childlike through the space Brahms creates - the cello provides a rich woody floor, and the viola quietly picks up a contrasting melody, like an older sibling mouthing words of caution. But soon all the strings are swept up in the fantasy of the clarinet’s first theme, ripening it with thick harmonies. This opening luxuriously plays itself out until 1.35 seconds, when it settles on a sunset.

Suddenly, a mutation of the first childlike theme pierces the peace in the strings like a fever. The theme is now jagged and anxious - all the leisurely wonder from before is gone from it. The clarinet skitters up and down itself, like shivers of delirium. It’s allowed a brief soliloquy at 1.58, lamenting the loss of the innocence it once knew, but at 2.08, a violin sharply rebuts, chiding the clarinet for such naivety. It tries to respond, but the other strings have picked up the chorus, and the clarinet's cries are lost in the fever. The dynamic builds in intensity as the instruments swing around each other in a dizzying climax, and it seems like the fever might break at 3.10, but there's no such relief and the jagged, mutated theme in the strings hits again and again.

The clarinet's soliloquy comes back at 3.32 - but this time it's fully reinforced by the violin, more robust and wiser in the ways of the world. The familiar fever comes back, but it seems less disjointed now with the clarinet better integrated into the family of strings, having learned a thing or two. Full consonance is achieved by 4.19, and for the last 15 seconds of the piece, the clarinet's first childlike theme from the very beginning returns. But it's more mature, with much more background support from the other strings, and when it settles on its sunset once again, it's for real this time.


Music

Center

Chiara String Quartet


Attendees

Center

Julia Donahue

Center

Ana Paula Cordeiro

Center

Adriana Gonzalez

Center

Steven Romeo

Center

Sharon mclaughlin

Center

Sharone Bunim

Hide attendees

Center

Siying Chen

Center

Patrick Cannell

Center

Erin pearlman

Center

Gary Glazner

Center

Davide Nerini

Center

Claudia Dias

Center

Debra Yanover

Center

Allison Applebaum

Center

Lindsay Edgecombe

Center

Nathan Henninger

Center

Edward Olivera

Center

Hollister Kennedy

Center

John Chappell

Center

Sung Eun Jin

Center

Sue zhou

Center

Stephanie A. Yoshida

Center

Benjamin Lieberman

Center

Elizabeth Langer

Center

Emma Reber

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Melissa Mesku

Center

Elaine Chao

Center

Ellie Kim

Center

Adi Dahiya

Center

Marta Ruiz Larrea

Center

Evelyn Dixon

Center

Ivana dall agnol

Center

Danielle Blank

Center

Brian Mun

Center

Christiane Johanna Büssgen

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Elie Khoury

Center

Mariam Kazi

Center

Emily Thrasher

Center

Amy Koo

Center

Lisa Arking

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Gabriel Kuris

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Shaili Hoshmand

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Jeffrey Paul Bourque II

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James Hamilton

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Aditi Reddy

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Amy Stallings

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Samira Jabbar

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Marc Luxemburg

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Zeynep Gumus

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Kelly Kulwinder Brar

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Cindy sansone

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FILIPPO INNOCENTI

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Barbara Laffan

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Jennifer Feinberg

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Lynn Yen

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Elissa Ludeman

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Margaret Bryer

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Catalina Villamil

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Beverly Jones

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Hansol Jeong

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Kanika Srinivasan

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Lilly Canel-Katz

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Patrick Rutan

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Joseph Fawcett

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Nathania Reid

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Raphaela Sapire

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Suzanne McCooey

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Andrea Ballarini

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Jo Ayers

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Trung Nguyen

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Robert Hertzberg

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Abhimanyu Ramachandran


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