Tag Archives: Amethyst String Quartet

Amethyst String Quartet June 18th, Cain Park


OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOne could argue that the best part of the summer is the wealth of music, plays, and general outdoor events that suddenly burst from the cold winter wasteland. Oh, there are still shows in the winter, but somehow being able to look up in the local alt-weekly and find a host of different events in one night, and half of them within biking distance is a wonderful feeling.

We’ve lived in Cleveland Heights for almost 3 years this August. Only a handful of times have we made the cross town bike trip to Cain Park, but last night there was a free performance by a local string quartet performing selections from Downton Abbey among other summery pops and classical numbers. The four ladies that made up the quartet were all skilled musicians, playing in the Cleveland Pops Orchestra as well as a host of side projects.

While the show was billed as a Downton Abbey recital, the performance ended up being much more than that. Starting with the main theme  from Downton (which itself is a compelling number; it’s hard not to imagine dramatic moments from the show as the music swells.) The quartet performed the swaying, breathing theme by John Lunn (who, on a sidenote, say’s he is influenced by funk bands such as Sly and The Family Stone and James Brown).

Picking up on the thread of musical influences, Mary Beth Ions, Amethyst’s lead violinist, took us on a rousing journey through musical history. Starting with Downton Edwardian era selections, we moved forward in time with period Foxtrots and Waltzes (including Nearer Mine God, to Thee which played as the Titanic sunk).

The second half of the concert explored more recent compositions, including two songs from Scott Joplin’s opera, Treemonisha, which apparently was written in 1910, but not performed until 1972 and apparently might have stylistic similarities to 70’s broadway smash, The Wiz). A high point of the second half was a rendition of a George Gershwin number from Porgy and Bess. The night ended on a return to Downton Abbey, and then a stirring performance of Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah.

I haven’t always been the biggest appreciator of classical music, with my tastes leaning closer to rock and punk and pop, but this performance hit an a number of composers and compositions that I would enjoy exploring further. If a summer concert leaves one feeling more musically enriched, but with room to explore and learn, then I would consider it a succesful concert experience!

Here’s the Downton Abbey theme (although not performed by the Amethyst String Quartet).

And Amethyst String Quartet are bookable for events! Contact Mary Beth Ions on her Facebook page..