After nearly four decades of performing together all over the world, the local Vermeer Quartet retired last year, ending its annual Passover/Easter performances of Haydn’s “The Seven Last Words of Christ” that the ensemble had made its own for more than a decade. The Vermeer approach, which was to offer the piece exactly as Haydn wrote it for Good Friday, 1797, in a resonant church setting with oral meditations on the scriptural texts that inspired each of the movements presented by a virtual “who’s who” of area religious elite before each of the movements in a manner similar to the group’s stunning recording of the work on the Alden label in 1998, was too good of an idea for it not to continue on after Vermeer had retired. Thus, two Vermeer members (hey, in the rock world this would constitute a bona fide reunion), violist Richard Young, who has even written a book about the Vermeer’s performances of this work, and violinist Mathias Tacke, will be joined by violinist Rachel Barton and cellist Wendy Warner to reconstitute this Holy Week tradition. Also on hand will be Martin E. Marty, Jean Bethke Elshtain and Alison Boden, among others, with oral meditations between the movements. (Dennis Polkow)
Tuesday, March 18 at University of Chicago’s Rockefeller Memorial Chapel, 5850 S. Woodlawn, (773)702-7059. 8pm. $10.