At The New York Times today, appreciation of Sherry Turkle from an unexpected quarter, a review of a performance by the Manhattan Quartet. Beautiful writing besides. High marks for the music and for the writing.
In her 2011 book “Alone Together,” the social scientist Sherry Turkle describes our world as one in which technology has rendered us increasingly isolated when it comes to substantive interactions. We “friend” instead of making friends.
Her title, but in inverse, occurred to me on Wednesday at the Manhattan String Quartet’s concert at the Tenri Cultural Institute. The evening, “100 Years of the String Quartet,” could just as well have been named “Together Alone.” The world may be full of anxiety, melancholy and atomization, the program seemed to say, but a string quartet is a unified, rich society unto itself. The members pass around ideas, argue and sing: This is real friendship, not the Facebook kind.
Now in its 44th season, the Manhattan Quartet comes together with warm but not overly well-oiled ease, like old friends or a family. You never get the sense from these players that you get from some other, often younger groups, that the answer to music’s questions lies in ferociously smooth unanimity.