Ariel Quartet at ArtPower

Friday night ArtPower did it again.  They released an evening of music that peaked around a second performance of Mahammed Fairouz: New Commission by Ariel Quartet.  If you are unaware of the series of shows that ArtPower consistently puts on, you can see their archive of shows here.  
Over the years, ArtPower has consistently brought acts from all over the world to San Diego.  Here at Blog San Diego, we’ve been fortunate to see many of them and the show last night validated their series, again.
Ariel Quartet is a group of relatively young performers, though they have been together for 16 years, having formed in school in Isreal.  They currently reside and teach as the quartet-in-residence at the University of Cincinnati’s College-Conservatory of Music.  
The quartet seems to be known for (among other things) their animated, whole body involvement in the songs.  During the first Beethoven piece, it took me a while to get over the visuals and settle into the sounds.  They are amazing players and it sounded phenomenal, but honestly the first thing you notice are the people. 
Once I was settled and closed my eyes for a bit, I began to hear the virtuousness of the instruments and abilities.  The Quartet in A Major, Op. 18, No. 5 is a beautiful piece, set inside the beautiful Prebys Hall and played by beautiful people.  What more could you ask for?  Oh, and let me mention that I was there with my mom, which made the Beethoven even more perfect.
The true highlight of the night was the New Commission by Mahammed Fairouz. Thankfully a member of Ariel Quartet stood up to preface the piece with an introduction.  It made the listen much more rich and complex. The piece is an imagined melding of Islam and Judaism as represented through eight prophets (the eight movements) that both religions have in common.
The music totally shifted to drones, odd harmonies and reimagined motifs of a different era.  My mind was able to roam free in these never heard before songs in a way that Beethoven and Schumann can not do.  I’m hopeful there will be a release of this movement soon.  This was only the second performance of these songs. Thanks to ArtPower, we were there and heard it fresh, new and vibrant. It’s these types of moments that make ArtPower so special.  They can attract this kind of talent, host impeccably sounding shows which make a night special and memorable.