Boulder’s Takacs Quartet remembers Philip Seymour Hoffman collaboration: ‘We were in awe’

Photo: Philip Seymour Hoffman in 2010
Actor Philip Seymour Hoffman in 2010.

From a Monday afternoon post on the Takacs Quartet Facebook page:

We were lucky enough to work with Philip Seymour Hoffman once. What was so striking to us during his readings from Philip Roth's Everyman was how daring his choices were: so much dynamic inflection in his voice in the piano/pianissimo range. And a humble, openminded attitude to his work. We were in awe. What a sad day.

The quartet collaborated with Hoffman in an October 2007 Carnegie Hall performance that mixed readings by Hoffman with music by Takacs.

Photo: Takacs Quartet
The Takacs Quartet. Left to right: Károly Schranz, second violin; Geraldine Walther, viola; András Fejer, cello; Edward Dusinberre, first violin.

The New York Times praised the concert in a review, writing that it “pulsed with earthy sound and incisive energy.” It offered a lengthy appreciation of Hoffman's work:

Reading fiction aloud is a delicate art. You can try to dramatize the prose, creating characters and dialects or adopt a more neutral narrative tone. Neither approach works on its own.

Mr. Hoffman, seated on a high chair, his face almost buried in a paperback copy of the book, found an ideal balance between narrative objectivity and vivid characterization in his readings of these extended excerpts. His voice was conversational and intimate. Yet he deftly calculated his pacing, tone and emphasis.

See photos of Hoffman that night, from Carnegie Hall's Twitter feed.

Hoffman incorporated classical music into his work again when he acted in the 2012 film "A Late Quartet."