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One week ago, I was just sitting down to hear Brooklyn Rider in Santa Barbara.  It was one of those experience where afterwards you don’t want to talk, because there aren’t any words that can accurately describe the experience you had – the way you felt listening to four people play with such complete harmony and togetherness that they sounded almost like one person.  For me, it was one of those rare experiences where a lightbulb goes off in your mind.  Something *clicks* and you suddenly understand more.  You feel more.  Your ears are opened and your whole body fills with love and light.  

The quartet performed pieces by Mozart, Bartok, and Brooklyn Rider violinist/composer, Colin Jacobsen.  The Bartok was my favorite.  I loved the amazing textures created by the group, and the way you were transported to another land by the folk tunes woven throughout the string quartet (no. 2). Here is a recording of the Hungarian String Quartet performing the piece, which also has a color-coded analysis that I found interesting.

Tied for favorite were pieces composed by Colin Jacobsen.  The first piece in a series of three is also the name of their latest album, A Walking Fire.  Jacobsen’s voice is authentic and rings true, without being contrived at all.  While you can certainly hear influences from Bartok, his music is fresh and modern, and at the same time, highly melodic with a wonderful rhythmic drive.  Jacobsen is a true genius and an artist, and hearing him, along with the rest of Brooklyn Rider, is an experience I will not forget.