As Daniel Barenboim says (A life in Music), “the principle of chamber music is dialogue.” Especially in our age of technologically facilitated social networking, this remarkable dialogue is increasingly precious. While the same technology also enables unprecedented access to recordings, the poignancy of the live chamber music experience has another order of magnitude, as our loyal patrons like to observe. Beyond the intricacies of dialogue, aesthetics, and the personal emotions and human condition that can be uniquely expressed here, the rich medium of chamber music bears the signature of cultures and histories. Because of this, I choose to have ensembles offer something of their native culture, as well as the other masterpieces they are pleased to play. Certainly, all of these musicians are skilled and educated to represent the spectrum of masterworks, but being steeped in a culture sometimes enables an intuitive authenticity.
The German city from which the Leipzig String Quartet players hail, has little historical competition for musical fertility, and in hearing this group, we stand to be treated to subtleties of this legacy.
In the same vein, the venerated 60 year old Fine Arts Quartet will show us some of the American sound by the very popular Philip Glass and John Corigliano (who scored The Red Violin), before they play Schubert’s monumental Death and the Maiden.
The younger and laser focused Attacca Quartet from New York will show us their virtuosic, not frenetic, contemporary realization of the distinctive modern sound of John Adams; perhaps the most listened to composer alive today.
The Canadian Cecilia Quartet which won top prize at the 10th Banff International String Quartet Competition (violist and cellist originate from Hamilton) will give the world premiere performance of a piece they commissioned from superb Canadian composer and co-artistic director of CMH, Abigail Richardson-Schulte. The piece was commissioned for the quartet’s upcoming east coast tour and is composed to pay homage to its much loved folk music. Abigail does it with a twist, and the fine musicians of the quartet will bring her Canadian sound; a spirit that has had over thirty thousand of her Hockey Sweater audience humming on the way out since its premiere in 2012.
The ensemble, Kaleidoscope, brings a larger scale, mixed instrument sound to the series. This team of concert artists will play the work of Canada’s iconic Murray Schafer among its great lineup of pieces. It is my pleasure to have been able to put this season together, and I look forward to sharing the enthusiasm with you.