This October, the vivid colors of fall will mingle with the vivid colors of music as Santa Fe Pro Musica presents the world-class St. Lawrence String Quartet performing works of Haydn, Golijov, and Beethoven. The St. Lawrence String Quartet’s mission: bring every piece of music to the audience in vivid color, with pronounced communication and teamwork, and great respect to the composer.
St. Lawrence String Quartet
Geoff Nuttall, violin
Mark Fewer, violin
Lesley Robertson, viola
Christopher Costanza, cello
Sunday, October 5 at 3pm
St. Francis Auditorium, New Mexico Museum of Art
107 W Palace Ave
Santa Fe, NM 87501
TICKETS: $20, $35, $45, $65 at the Santa Fe Pro Musica Box Office (505) 988-4640, Tickets Santa Fe at The Lensic (505) 988-1234, or online at www.santafepromusica.com
Discounts for students, teachers, groups, and families are available exclusively through the Santa Fe Pro Musica Box Office.
Haydn String Quartet in F Minor, Op. 20, No. 5
Beethoven String Quartet in C Major, Op. 59, No. 3 “Razumovsky”
Notes by Carol Redman
Franz Joseph Haydn (1732-1809)
String Quartet in F Minor, Op. 20, No. 5
In the mid-eighteenth century a literary movement developed in Germany known as Sturm und Drang (“storm and stress” or sometimes called “drama and trauma”), a reaction against the charming, courtly, lighter style of the preceding Rococo period with its clean lines and positive spirit. This new style exalted the primal characteristics of nature and emphasized man’s richly conflicted emotional life. The protagonist in a typical Sturm und Drang stage or literary work is driven neither by noble intentions nor by moral expectations, but by heart-felt emotions, including rapture, despair, greed, pain, torment, and hopeless love.
There is no evidence Haydn consciously used Sturm und Drang concepts as a compositional force in his music written during the mid to late 18th century, however one can perceive the influence of these trends on his music, including employment of the somber minor keys (more suitable for conveying difficult sentiments), angular and tortured melodic contours, exploration of darker subjects, and experimentation with dramatic and unexpected musical changes and contrasts. During these years, Haydn also became interested in writing fugues in the Baroque style, and three of his opus 20 quartets, including No. 5, end with fugues. Donald Francis Tovey (1875-1940) describes Haydn’s use of counterpoint (fugues) as “the reconquest of the ancient kingdom of polyphony.” Whatever Haydn’s intent, the six opus 20 string quartets (1772) align with the artistic ideals of Sturm und Drang.
Osvaldo Golijov (b. 1960)
Golijov grew up in an Eastern European Jewish household in La Plata, Argentina. As a child he was surrounded by classical, Jewish liturgical and klezmer music, and the tango music of Astor Piazzolla. In 1983 Golijov moved to Jerusalem where he immersed himself in the “colliding musical traditions of that city.” In 1986 he moved to the United States where he is currently Loyola Professor of Music, College of the Holy Cross (Worcester, MA). He has received many honors and awards including two Grammy awards, a MacArthur Fellowship “Genius Grant,” a Guggenheim Fellowship and Musical America Composer of the Year (2006). He has also been composer in residence for the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the Los Angeles Philharmonic and others, and has collaborated with many internationally renowned artists, including writing film scores for Francis Ford Coppola.
Golijov’s string quartet Qohelet (2011) is inspired by one of the most frequently quoted phrases from the Bible’s book of Ecclesiastes (Kohelet, in Hebrew): “What has been will be again/What has been done will be done again/There is nothing new under the sun.” For this string quartet Golijov deliberately makes use of musical materials that already exist, including folk songs, prayer melodies, lullabies, clips from his film scores, and a popular Brazilian Carioca tune. Golijov remarks about Qohelet: “The first movement is a meditation on motion and melancholy. Those seemingly contradictory states actually feed each other here. The second movement flows like two slow river currents. The merging and bifurcations of these currents are punctuated by cradling bells: reflection rather than action.”
Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827)
String Quartet in C Major, Op. 59, No. 3 “Razumovsky”
“There are many things that can be expressed in the extremely private world of the quartet – to which the listener is, in a sense, a permitted interloper – that are not suited for the more public forms of the symphony or opera. This is why in string quartets there are thoughts that are at the same time intimate and daring” (H. C. Robbins Landon, 1926-2009).
Beethoven composed the three famous and much loved Razumovsky String Quartets, Op. 59 in 1805-1806 for the Russian ambassador to the Court of Vienna, Prince Andrei Razumovsky (1752-1836). Appearing only a few years after Beethoven’s earlier Opus 18 string quartets (1801), which still owe much to Haydn and Mozart, the three Razumovsky Quartets are works of a completely different nature; quartets with symphonic dimensions. In 1804 Beethoven had just completed his explosive Symphony No. 3 “Eroica” which marked the beginning of his immense expansions of classical form and opened the doors to the Romantic era. The Razumovsky Quartets continue on the same trajectory, leaving the living room (music for amateurs) and entering the concert hall (music for professionals).
The first movement begins dark and brooding (Andante con moto, flowing, with motion) that eventually launch the movement into a blazing C major Allegro vivace (fast, with life). The allegro is built, not on a melody or even so much as a theme, but on a two note motif and the simple flowing lines of scales and arpeggios, “mellifluous ribbons of light, simple motions turned to golden honey” (Earsense Chamber Music, online database). Both middle movements have a relaxed quality, poised and reserved. The second movement (Andante con moto quasi allegretto, flowing, with motion, and a bit fast) is the cool point in the quartet, delicate and veiled with melancholy. The third movement is a graceful minuet, moderate and suave, not a wild scherzo for which Beethoven was to become famous. The finale (Allegro molto, very fast) gloriously exudes bright energy and a driving perpetual motion.
About the St. Lawrence String Quartet
The St. Lawrence String Quartet (SLSQ) has established itself among the world-class chamber ensembles of its generation. Its mission: bring every piece of music to the audience in vivid color, with pronounced communication and teamwork, and great respect to the composer. Since winning both the Banff International String Quartet Competition and Young Concert Artists International Auditions in 1992, the quartet has delighted audiences with its spontaneous, passionate, and dynamic performances. Alex Ross of The New Yorker magazine writes, “the St. Lawrence are remarkable not simply for the quality of their music making, exalted as it is, but for the joy they take in the act of connection.”
Whether playing Haydn or premiering a new work, the SLSQ has a rare ability to bring audiences to rapt attention. They reveal surprising nuances in familiar repertoire and illuminate the works of some of today’s most celebrated composers, often all in the course of one evening. John Adams was inspired to write works expressly for the quartet after hearing them in concert. His “String Quartet,” written for the SLSQ, was premiered by the quartet in January 2009.
In spring 2011, the quartet will premiere a new work by Osvaldo Golijov, also composed for them. This forthcoming work (co-commissioned by Stanford Lively Arts and Carnegie Hall) is expected to build on the success of their previous collaboration, which culminated in the twice-Grammy-nominated SLSQ recording of the composer’s Yiddishbbuk (EMI) in 2002.
SLSQ maintains a busy touring schedule. The 2010/11 season includes two trips to Europe with concerts in Germany, Belgium, Italy, Finland and Estonia. In North America, SLSQ returns to Vancouver, Winnipeg, Toronto, New York and Philadelphia in addition to concerts in North Carolina, Georgia, Oregon, Idaho, Arizona, Florida, Alabama, Texas and Oklahoma. During the summer season SLSQ is proud to continue its long association with the Spoleto Festival in Charleston, SC and Bay Chamber Concerts in Rockport, Maine.
Celebrating the 20th anniversary of the quartet’s founding in Canada, SLSQ in 2009 commissioned five Canadian composers and performed their work across the country. They also have active working relationships with numerous other composers, including R. Murray Schafer, Christos Hatzis, Ezequiel Viñao, Jonathan Berger, Ka Nin Chan, Roberto Sierra, and Mark Applebaum.
Since 1998 the SLSQ has held the position of Ensemble in Residence at Stanford University. This residency includes working with music students as well as extensive collaborations with other faculty and departments using music to explore a myriad of topics. Recent collaborations have involved the School of Medicine, School of Education, and the Law School. In addition to their appointment at Stanford, the SLSQ are visiting artists at the University of Toronto. The foursome’s passion for opening up musical arenas to players and listeners alike is evident in their annual summer chamber music seminar at Stanford and their many forays into the depths of musical meaning with preeminent music educator Robert Kapilow.
Violist Lesley Robertson is a founding member of the group, and hails from Edmonton Alberta. Cellist Christopher Costanza is from Utica, NY and joined the quartet in 2003. Violinists Geoff Nuttall and Scott St. John both grew up in London Ontario; Geoff is a founding member and Scott joined in 2006. Depending on concert repertoire, the two alternate the role of first violin. All four members of the quartet live and teach at Stanford, in the Bay Area of California.
Please read more about the St. Lawrence String Quartet at http://www.slsq.com
About Santa Fe Pro Musica
Santa Fe Pro Musica, founded in 1980, is a non-profit performing arts organization dedicated to inspiring and educating audiences of all ages through the performance of great music. Pro Musica performs a varied repertoire, covering four centuries of music on modern and baroque instruments, including works for chamber orchestra, small ensemble and large-scale works for orchestra and chorus. In 2008, Pro Musica’s recording of Gustav Mahler’s Das Lied von der Erde (chamber arrangement by Schoenberg) was nominated for a GRAMMY® award in the classical category of Best Small Ensemble Performance. In August of 2012, Santa Fe Pro Musica Recordings produced a CD of Conrad Tao, pianist, performing Mozart Piano Concertos No. 17 and No. 25. In addition to gaining national recognition over its 32 years for its artistry in performance, Santa Fe Pro Musica offers some of the most distinguished educational opportunities in northern New Mexico, reaching thousands of students every year with a Youth Concert series, a team-building, ensemble-training program, and a master class series for New Mexico School for the Arts students.
The 2014-2015 Season is partially funded by the City of Santa Fe Arts Commission, the 1% Lodgers Tax, and New Mexico Arts (a Division of the Department of Cultural Affairs).
For more information, please visit our website: www.santafepromusica.com
© Santa Fe Pro Musica 2014