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Quartet plays string classics

February 28, 2005|by WANDA T. WILLIAMS

wandaw@herald-mail.com

HAGERSTOWN - Classical music fans from the Tri-State area took in a live string quartet performance Sunday at the Washington County Museum of Fine Arts.

About 40 people attended the Gallery Quartet's first performance of the year. In its 28th season, the group is the museum's "quartet in residence." The group plays exclusively for the museum and appearances are open to the public.

"We're the oldest regularly performing quartet in the state of Maryland," said Jere Stern, an original quartet member.

Playing the violin, viola and cello, the group drew loud applause following performances of music by such legends as Paul Hindemith and Ludwig van Beethoven.

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The group performed Beethoven's String Quartet in E-flat Major, Opus 74, which he composed in the early 1800s at the age of 39.

The string quartet from Beethoven's middle period also is referred to as the "Harp Quartet" by the classical music world, Stern said.

"I thought it was beautiful," said Martha Macfarland of Waynesboro, Pa.

Macfarland and her husband, Willard Macfarland, spent time in Europe, where the couple said they developed a strong appreciation for classical music. The couple said they're pleased to be able to attend a live classical music performance outside the Baltimore-Washington area.

Longtime classical music fans, John and Sheila McBride of Hedgesville, W.Va., also attended. They've attended Gallery Quartet performances for the last three years.

"The public doesn't know what it's missing," Sheila McBride said, referring to what she said was a great performance.

The couple said classical music is timeless.

"It has a lasting quality. It's not on the pop charts this week and off the next week. It's challenging and complex," John McBride said.

For some younger members of the audience, Sunday's quartet proved to be a learning experience and a chance to hear a new genre of music.

"It was different, and I really liked it," said 17-year-old Jessica Taylor of Hagerstown.

Taylor's dad, Billy Taylor, said he wanted to broaden his daughter's understanding of various forms of cultural art.

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