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Crossovers Add Flavor to Classics
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Crossovers Add Flavor to Classics

Brooklyn Rider Joins String Quartets Exploring the Nonclassical

By CORINNA da FONSECA-WOLLHEIMNOV. 30, 2014

To many classical music lovers, “crossover” is a dirty word. And who can blame them? The holiday season is especially rich in ill-advised CD releases by opera stars belting out operetta arias or crooning Christmas jingles in arrangements that do no favors to either the singers or the songs.

The string quartet scene, too, buzzes with crossover energy. On Monday at Zankel Hall, Brooklyn Rider performs selections from its new album, “Almanac” (Mercury Classics), featuring pieces commissioned by a rainbow of musicians from the worlds of folk, indie rock and jazz. Last month, the Danish String Quartet presented arrangements of Scandinavian folk tunes taken from its new CD, “Wood Works” (Dacapo), at SubCulture. That same evening at Zankel Hall, Quatuor Ébène, from Paris, capped a performance of Mozart, Mendelssohn and Bartok with a samba-flavored encore taken from its recent album “Brazil” (Warner).

But here’s the difference. Not only is the music from these ventures engrossing, satisfying and fun, it also enriches the way the ensembles play the core chamber repertory. To borrow a term from the world of sports, this isn’t crossover. It’s cross training.

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