In Japanese calligraphy, one of the most sacred symbols is the enso, a single-line circle completed in one stroke.
When painting the enso, often on delicate silk or rice paper, the artist must attain as much perfection as possible with no chance of modification. Similarities between Zen practice and performing music have often been made, most notably in Bill Evans' liner notes to Miles Davis' Kind of Blue. It's no surprise, then, that the New York City–based Enso String Quartet takes the same inspiration.
A recent album of the complete quartets of Argentinean composer Alberto Ginastera is an instructive signpost for the group. Ginastera's quartets demand a high level of technical virtuosity, and Enso make it sound all too easy. Twice nominated for Grammy awards, the in-demand quartet this week performs work from Boccherini, Britten and Grieg as part of Russian River Chamber Music's season finale. Admission is free, and there is no better way to introduce a friend or loved one to classical string quartets than a free concert by world-class musicians. Donations, naturally, are encouraged. The Enso String Quartet performs on Friday, April 20, at Healdsburg Community Church. 1100 University Ave., Healdsburg. 7:30pm. Free. www.russianriverchambermusic.org.