This was one of the first chamber works I learned as a teen in the program I grew up in, so it holds a special place in my heart. I played Viola 1, my first-ever viola gig, in a chamber group with my two brothers and six or eight other kids I grew up with. It’s always been my most quintessentially joyful music, and ever since I got my first Sony Walkman I’ve kept this piece on hand as an emergency cheerer-upper. I also own an Academy of Ancient Music recording of it at a tempo of exactly quarter-note to 90, which means eighth-notes run at 180 per minute, making it a perfect addition to my running mix, barefoot running being a short-stride rapid-turnover sort of affair.
So I was probably as excited as the kids that they got to play it this summer. Their quartet and octet preparation took a lot of energy, so the Brandenburg got short shrift, but when they first ran through it with the group last Friday night they dug right in. Less than two days later they performed it at the opening event of the main SVI week. As above.