The Parker Quartet: Love Letters throughout the Centuries


Program options works by Adolphus Hailstork, György Kurtág, Alban Berg and Schumann. 

By Izzy Fincher Nov. 22 at 9:15 a.m.

Alan Berg’s Lyric Suite from 1926 has been referred to as “a latent opera.” The sweeping, programmatic, six-movement work, largely constructed on a 12-tone row, actually appears like one. 

By way of hidden musical gadgets and quotations, Berg depicts his passionate, but doomed love affair with a married lady, Hanna Fuchs-Robettin. He even makes use of numerology to show his and Hanna’s initials a motif of paired notes, A-Bb and B-F for H.B. and H.F. It’s the final word musical love letter. 

This suite was the centerpiece of the Parker Quartet’s efficiency in Grusin Corridor on Sunday (Nov. 21) because the visitor artists for CU Presents’ Takács Quartet sequence. Regardless of their eclectic program, which ranged from up to date works by Adolphus Hailstork, György Kurtág (one of many quartet’s early mentors) and Alban Berg to a string quartet by Schumann, the efficiency felt cohesive, tied collectively by themes of affection and loss throughout the centuries.  

Parker Quartet (L-R: Jessica Bodner, Daniel Chong, Ken Hamao, Kee-Hyun Kim). Photograph by Luke Ratray.

Based in 2002 on the New England Conservatory, the Parker Quartet has established itself as one among main string quartets for conventional and up to date repertoire within the U.S. Their 2011 album, Ligeti: String Quartets Nos. 1 & 2, acquired a Grammy Award for the Greatest Chamber Music Efficiency, they usually have premiered works by main up to date composers, together with Jeremy Gill, Augusta Learn Thomas and Zosha di Castri. The quartet members are at the moment artists-in-residence at Harvard College.

The live performance opened with the reflective Adagio from Hailstork’s String Quartet No. 1, based mostly on a choral piece written for his Norfolk Unitarian church that’s set to a textual content about being a beneficiant, loving Christian man. Following this, the quartet’s charismatic violinist Daniel Chong launched the theme of this system: love in its varied varieties. This might be continued in Kurtág’s Aus der Ferne V (From afar), a quick, mournful work devoted to his late good friend and writer Alfred Schlee, who rescued many up to date scores from the Nazis; Berg’s Lyric Suite; and Schumann’s String Quartet No. 3 in A significant, a twenty third birthday current for his beloved spouse, Clara. 

Within the evocative Aus der Ferne V, cellist Kee-Hyun Kim drove the piece ahead with ominous pizzicato, paying homage to a heartbeat, over the sustained strains on the violins and viola that exploded briefly dissonant bursts earlier than regularly fading away. 

This three-minute vignette set the scene for the spotlight of this system, Berg’s Lyric Suite, which Chong described as “probably the most expressive string quartet within the canon” in his introduction. Within the suite, the Parker Quartet demonstrated their spectacular potential to mix, whereas bringing completely different devices out of the feel as wanted, making a dialogue out of the constructing and creating motifs. By way of their expressive use of colours and dynamics, in addition they captured the contrasting moods Berg experiences as he falls head over heels in love and later descends into despair. 

Within the first motion, marked Allegretto gioviale, the Parker Quartet burst into joyful movement led by Chong’s energetic opening gesture. This vitality constructed by means of the subsequent 4 actions, which all have expressive names: Andante amoroso, Allegro misterioso—Trio estatico, Adagio appassionato and Presto delirando—Tenebroso. 

Within the third motion, the hidden initials motif seems most often, amidst the mixture of wandering pizzicato and warbly strains that sound extra chaotically improvisatory than mysterious, an instability the Parker Quartet communicated very properly earlier than constructing to the agitated trio and the dynamic presto that ends with a climactic flourish. The ultimate motion, Largo desolato, which incorporates the long-lasting Tristan motif related to everlasting love, demanded probably the most musical versatility from the musicians, as moments from earlier happier actions seem briefly earlier than sinking into despair. 

Following this miserable love story, the Parker Quartet shifted to a light-hearted work for the second half, Schumann’s String Quartet No. 3. After an hour of intense up to date repertoire, this leap again into an earlier period felt a bit unusual. Given the group’s excited chatter throughout intermission, nevertheless, a well-known work appeared to be a welcome respite after atonal explorations. 

Throughout his profession, Schumann solely wrote three quartets. They have been written collectively as Op. 41, a birthday current to his spouse that was composed within the span of 5 weeks in 1842. These quartets incorporate components of Schumann’s influences from Mozart, Haydn, Beethoven, and his good friend Mendelssohn, whereas nonetheless retaining his personal private, Romantic type and at occasions increasing it. 

Of their animated interpretation of No. 3, the Parker Quartet exhibited their impeccable synchronicity, bow strokes shifting as one. With clear, sturdy downbeats, Kim on cello led this, although maybe a bit too forcefully within the calmer Adagio molto motion. With the final motion, a showy crowd pleaser marked molto vivace, the quartet ended the efficiency on an uplifting observe, a reminder of the thrill and pleasure of younger love.  

This system might be repeated at 7:30 p.m. tonight, Nov. 22, in Grusin Corridor. Tickets can be found right here.

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