September - October
String Quartet Op.33 No.2 The Joke Franz Joseph Haydn
Entr’acte Caroline Shaw
String Quartet No.1 Op.50 Sergei Prokofiev
Surprise, Transformation and, of course, Magic. What better way to celebrate the opening of our anniversary season than by exploring some of our favorite traits in chamber music! Haydn's famous knack for smashing expectations is on full display in the absolutely gorgeous (and hilarious) Op. 33 No.2 quartet, while Caroline Shaw's Entr'acte explores some of her favorite features of Haydn's Minuets, occasionally poking a little fun at the old man along the way. Speaking of fun and wit, no one has yet outdone Prokofiev in either. His first quartet starts off with vigorous and playful energy and ends in a soulful lullaby ignoring all the canons of the genre.
October - November
artwork by Laura Thurbon
String Quartet No.1 in C Major Dmitri Shostakovich
String Quartet No.15 in A minor, Op. 132 Ludwig van Beethoven
Shostakovich wrote that he "visualized childhood scenes, somewhat naive and bright moods associated with spring" when writing his first string quartet. The optimism and happiness of this work contrasts with the drama of his recently completed 5th Symphony, but his unique voice is nevertheless heard in full force here.
As Beethoven recovered from what he had feared would be a fatal illness, he wrote his extraordinary String Quartet Op. 132. He titles the 3rd movement, "Heiliger Dankgesang eines Genesenen an die Gottheit, in der lydischen Tonart" ("Holy song of Thanksgiving of a Convalescent to the Deity, in the Lydian mode"). This movement is one of the most sublime, hopeful expressions of deep gratitude and love of life.
January - February
From the Heart
Drobnosti Op. 75a Antonín Dvořák
Strum Jesse Montgomery
String Quartet in E flat Major Fanny Mendelssohn
Program three features heartfelt works by three masters, two from the Romantic era, and one from the present who shares from her own intimate experience and love of the string quartet. Dvorak's Drobnosti is also known as Four Romantic Pieces for Violin, and they are heartbreakingly lovely. Jesse Montgomery's Strum is both a unique meditation on the resonance and warmth of the string quartet, and a flirtation with the romance of guitars and "strummed" instruments. We close with Fanny Mendelssohn's Quartet in E flat. At turns powerful and tender, playful and passionate, this work carries on the great quartet tradition of Beethoven and at times echoes her brother Felix's works, but in her own distinct voice. This Valentine of a program promises to bring some warmth into some dark winter nights.
April - May
Duos for 2 violins Bela Bartok and Kenji Bunch
Waltz Andy Stein
Limestone and Felt Caroline Shaw
Cello Quintet op. 34 Johannes Brahms
How does the greatest music always seem to add up to more than its constituent parts? Our final program of the year explores how instruments, ideas and personalities combine to create surprising and beautiful results. Our program splits the ensemble and journeys through three small duet masterpieces by living American composers, Kenji Bunch, Caroline Shaw and Andy Stein, and then comes back together with one of the greatest works of the western world, Brahms’ Quintet in F minor, here set for string quintet as it was originally conceived.