Sonata for Violin and Cello Élisabeth Jacquet de La Guerre (1665—1729)
O, Ecclesia Hildegard von Bingen (1098—1179)
Valencia Caroline Shaw (b. 1982)
String Quartet No. 2 in F-major, Op.22 Pyotr Illyich Tchaikovsky (1840—1893)
Hildegard von Bingen believed music to be a junction point between earth and heaven, and that it is through music that we can still experience the Paradise that is lost. She wrote music of unimaginable beauty guided by her divine visions, while almost a millennia later Caroline Shaw tends to find her inspiration in the most trivial and unexpected places, such as a Valencia orange. The Muse seems to have never left Élisabeth Jacquet de La Guerre, who impressed the court of king Louis XIV with her effortless improvisation, and certainly made one of her frequent visits to Tchaikovsky, who wrote his second quartet pretty much in one sitting.
String Quartet in D-major, Op.18, No.3 Ludwig van Beethoven (1770—1827)
String Quartet No.5 in B-flat major, Op.92 Dmitri Shostakovich (1906—1975)
Our annual exploration of Beethoven and Shostakovich continues with a pairing of two of the most elegant and yet personal works they wrote. Beethoven's Op.18 no. 3 is the very first string quartet he wrote. Graceful, whimsical, and virtuosic, it shows the combination of skill and originality which Beethoven purposed to express the most earnest of emotions. Shostakovich’s 5th String Quartet contains some of his most sparsely beautiful music, intertwined with a whirlwind of energy and personal expression. Shostakovich quotes a melody from a trio written by his pupil, the stunningly original composer Galina Ustvolskaya. Shostakovich’s admiration of Ustvolskaya’s talent and her person was enthusiastic, perhaps even passionate, and he channelled it into this work.
Goldberg Variations BWV 988 Johann Sebastian Bach (1685—1750)
arranged for string trio by Dmitry Sitkovetsky
For the first time, Sheffield Chamber Players present a single stand alone work, Bach's monumental Goldberg Variations, arranged for string trio. According to legend, the work was composed for an insomniac Count, who is said to have requested "smooth, lively music" for his musician—Goldberg—to play to help him sleep, or cheer him if he couldn't. The veracity of this story is heavily disputed, but whatever prompted Bach to write these variations, the work displays a dazzling mastery of form, symmetry, and counterpoint. Over the span of about an hour, you will find yourself exploring the human condition through each variation before being returned to the Aria, identical to the first notes you heard, but transformed by the journey.
Be In for String Quartet and Bass Clarinet Evan Ziporyn (b.1959)
Four Marys Julia Wolfe (b. 1958)
Lies You Can Believe In Missy Mazzoli (b. 1980)
Clarinet Quintet in A-major, K581 Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756—1791)
This finale to the season features all-star clarinetist and composer Evan Ziporyn on a meaningful excursion into the driving rhythmic heartbeat that is innate to some, our deepest shared musical expressions. Our first set takes us from the earthy Bass Clarinet grooves of Evan’s own Be-In, through the edgy sound world of Pulitzer Prize winner Julia Wolfe’s Four Marys, and closes with Missy Mazzoli’s truly rock and roll Lies You Can Believe In. Mozart’s sublime Clarinet Quintet comprises the second half, highlighting his most heavenly melodic material alongside his characteristic rhythmic clarity, showing us why he is the original king of Rock and Roll.