Brentano String Quartet

Poetry and music are like chocolate and caramel. Separate, they’re terrific; combined, they’re divine. The two unite today with Da Camera’s presentation of the Brentano String Quartet with baritone Leon Williams, who will perform works inspired by poetry. The Quartet has built a reputation for performing outside the standard repertoire by adding new music by contemporary composers and old music written before string quartets were even around. Williams, who is an alumnus of both The Harlem Boys Choir and Juilliard School of Music, is known for having mastered musical roles from both opera and Broadway (recent appearances include Papageno in The Magic Flute and Anthony in Sweeney Todd). The pairing of the two seems natural.

The Brentano Quartet (violinists Mark Steinberg and Serena Canin, violist Misha Amory and cellist Nina Maria Lee) joins pianists Scott Holshouser and Sarah Rothenberg to perform émigré composer Arnold Schoenberg’s Ode to Napoleon, Op. 41, which uses a poem by Byron to respond to the rise of Hitler. The evening also features Lee Hyla’s Howl, complete with a recording of Allen Ginsberg reading his seminal 1956 work about wild young things (think twice before bringing the kids, though — the language is pretty crude). 7:30 p.m. The Menil Collection, 1515 Sul Ross. For information, call 713-524-5050 or visit $35.

Tue., Feb. 17, 7:30 p.m., 2009

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