New York Times Writers Love Food Metaphors, Hate Cold

A decent little review that requires a little gentle ribbing:

Sources of Heat and Light to Challenge an Icy Season

At least in the NY Times they understand capitalization [looks askance at Houston Chronicle].

On a miserably cold winter evening,

Mr. Holland? NO?! You’ve been sitting too close to him, then.

musical comfort food

The sonic equivalent of macaroni and cheese? Or cassoulet? I’m confused, and a little sad. But not cold! Take that, New York in February!

like Schumann’s vibrant Piano Quintet provides warming nourishment.

It does? Okay, metaphorically, I guess. Seems lazy, though (although I do get to use the “food metaphor” tag!).

It was given a vigorous performance on Monday at Weill Recital Hall by the Modigliani String Quartet and the pianist Jean-Frédéric Neuburger.

Jean-Frédéric...Neuburger? I’m guessing he’s…Scotch/Irish?

The Modigliani, with the violinists Philippe Bernhard and Loïc Rio, the violist Laurent Marfaing and the cellist François Kieffer,

What’s with the French first name/German last name thing? Are they Flemish or something?

was founded in 2003 at the Paris Conservatory,

Oh. No. Just French. One assumes. And apparently young. That’s cool.

where its members studied with the Ysaÿe Quartet.

Nice mentors to have, I’ll wager. I bet they’re good…

Both Mr. Neuburger, 21, and the ensemble were winners of the 2006 Young Concert Artists International Auditions and made their debuts in the Young Concert Artists series last season. They were presented here by the organization in an encore performance.

Apparently they’re actually awesome, too! Sounds like a great concert. On a miserable night.

The musicians plunged into Schumann’s Piano Quintet (written in 1842, a prolific year for his chamber music)

His...music was prolific that year? I call bullshit.

with youthful dynamism, bringing the requisite vitality to the exuberant opening measures and the fugue of the finale. Mr. Bernhard’s tone occasionally turned strident in the excitement, but it was an enjoyable performance, and Mr. Neuburger made fine contributions.

The dynamism was youthful, the vitality requisite. What?

The concert opened with Debussy’s String Quartet, which mystified audiences at its premiere in 1893.

I think they call that a lede. It’s supposed to make me more interested. It did! I love that piece! I’d like to hear more about that!

Too bad for me.

The Modigliani played with animated zest, and an underlying tension built up momentum to frenetic climaxes, highlighting the taut pizzicatos


in the second movement and the languid exchange of the main theme in the third.

Hey! Now I know where Empiricus gets his mad libs. (And why.) The zest was animated! Animated, I tell you! Is the “zest” thing part of the larger food metaphor?

Mr. Neuburger also offered a solo selection: the Prelude and Fugue, No. 14, and the Prelude and Fugue, No. 15, from Shostakovich’s Opus 87 cycle. The bleakness of the No. 14 prelude (interrupted here by a loud cellphone) contrasted with the initial energy of the No. 15. But as with much Shostakovich, that work soon descended into relentless despair.

Relentless despair. Like much Shostakovich. So much semiotics, so little time.

Mr. Neuburger’s chilling rendition of the manically macabre fugue from No. 15 made me shiver.

Ok, a little redemption for the overly-described but cleverly alliterated “maniacally macabre”.

As an encore to reward the enthusiastic full house, the musicians played the third movement from Brahms’s Piano Quintet, a satisfying dish to fortify listeners heading out into the frigid night.

Fortified, they went into the cold night, warm. What was this thing called again?

Sources of Heat and Light to Challenge an Icy Season

The heat was…from the fortifying comfort food-music. I think.

The light…never really came up. The Shostakovich sounds dark-ish...

Maybe the zest was light? Like...lemon zest, to brighten a dish? I’m confused again. But not cold!