Saturday night I attended a classical house show in Brighton, MA. The event was put on by Groupmuse, a service that pairs classical performances with audiences keen to hear good music in a low-pressure situation (e.g. somebody’s house).
Groupmuse organized the event. Hosts volunteer their house or workspace for a performance. Musicians sign up to play, and once a program is agreed upon an event is created.
Groupmuse users (Groupmusers?) can then agree to attend, although nothing is confirmed until you get this guy:
Setting aside how we feel about emoticons, this email is sure to send a frisson of excitement up your spine. You’re in the club.
After procuring alcoholic beverages and snacks, we drove to Brighton, parked semi-legally, and were greeted at the door by this sign.
We navigated a perilously icy driveway, got inside and mingled a bit before the show.
The two musicians on the evening were violist Mathilde Geismar and bass player Kevin Garcon.
They were unafraid of having their photos taken.
Host Ben Ginsburg offered a few words of introduction, as beers were cracked and phones silenced.
Then we were off. The program started with some Bach from his Fifth Cello Suite. It was a deep, brooding c minor situation. Garcon started it off before it morphed into a duo.
We were also treated to J.M. Sperger’s “Romanze” for viola and doublebass, Sándor Veress’s “Memento,” György Kurtág’s “Signs, Games and Messages” transcribed for bass, and a movement of György Ligeti’s “Sonata for viola” played exclusively on the C string.
The audience dug it.
And the performers seemed pleased themselves.
Groupmuse is a non-threatening dose of classical best enjoyed with a (double-)cup of cheer. Right now, the service is only available in Boston and New York. I have a feeling it will expand rapidly as the many imitators crop up.