Having made more than 800 commissions over its 40-year history, the Kronos Quartet has plenty of options to choose from in its wildly diverse repertoire. But it’s the U.S. premiere of Philip Glass’ “String Quartet No. 6” that makes Tuesday night’s concert at the Smith Center a notable standout—not to mention the rest of the lineup of arrangements and commissioned works by the likes of Laurie Anderson, Richard Wagner and Bryce Dessner of indie-rock band The National.
It’s been more than 20 years since Glass composed the fifth of his quartets—all of which Kronos, longtime Glass collaborators, has recorded (and premiered). In the hands of David Harrington’s group—responsible for an unimaginable transformation of the string-quartet experience—the piece should have audience members on the edge of their seats.
Glass’ “No. 6” is in good company. Dessner’s “Aheym” opens the evening, followed by works by Alter Yechiel Karniol, Ram Narayan and Omar Souleyman. Wagner’s “Prelude From Tristan and Isolde” concludes the program, but not before Jimi Hendrix’s “Purple Haze,” Anderson’s “Flow,” Jerry Garcia’s “What’s Become of the Baby” and Clint Mansell’s “Lux Aeterna” from Requiem for a Dream. And that’s just what’s listed on the bill. With Kronos, a group that has worked with musicians, artists and composers from multiple genres and media and incorporated audio and visual recordings into their performances, anything could happen.
Kronos Quartet October 21, 7:30 p.m., $26-$125. Smith Center's Reynolds Hall, 749-2000.