Certain music pushes the listener to lean forward, to actively explore it from the inside, as is the case for the setlist of our upcoming “Inside Voices” program.
Mendelssohn may have been a teen when he penned his String Quartet No.1, Op. 12, but the writing here is incredibly sophisticated. The melancholy opening of the piece plays like an operatic prelude, the soprano lead silently lighting candles in a dark chapel as the orchestra translates her worry. Drama is at the heart of the entire work, but the sort of drama that lives in the chest, or between the temples. Even the puckish second movement “Canzonetta” gives the impression of the hashing out of a devious plan. Taking our operatic analogy a step further, our soprano finally divulges her closely-held secret to her stoic father in the stirring, aria-like third movement before the quartet scampers into the rousing conclusion of the Molto allegro e vivace.
Associate Professor of Composition at Northwestern University, Hans Thomalla is an important figure in our history, having collaborated with us for the recording of his Albumblatt on our debut album, Chambers. Whereas Albumblatt emerges from explorations of unpitched and unusual sounds, evoking the elusive nature of memory, Bagatellen takes tonal music of the past as its departure point for its often microscopic timbral adventures. Bagatellen was commissioned by us and funded by the Ernst von Siemens Music Foundation.
Rounding out the program is that most perfect of new music gateway drugs, Arvo Pärt’s Fratres. Belief in the supernatural is not a prerequisite in reaching a sublime plane through this score. What appears spare and simple on the page becomes something altogether transcendent in performance.
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