Season Sponsor

DR. BRICE ADDISON

Concert Sponsor

Charles & Gerry Jennings

2021 - 2022

Chamber Music Series

 FRIDAY September 24 7pm
SUNDAY September 26 2pm

An innovative new work invites contemplation ... paired with Beethoven’s iconic op. 132

FRIDAY 

Alliance for Youth 

3220 11th Avenue S

SUNDAY 

First Congregational Church 

2900 9th Ave S

Cascade Quartet

Nicole Lizée
Another Living Soul

Extended technique with toys makes this work memorable!

Another Living Soul was commissioned by the Kronos Quartet as part of their Fifty For The Future initiative, a library of 50 new works for string quartet by 50 different composers, 25 men and 25 women. Scores, recordings and educational information on the works are all published free of charge via the Kronos Quartet's website.

The work utilizes "extended techniques," defined by Wikipedia as “performance techniques used in music to describe unconventional, unorthodox, or non-traditional techniques of singing, or of playing musical instruments to obtain unusual sounds or instrumental timbres.”

Nicole Lizée states: "Another Living Soul is stop motion animation for string quartet. Considered one of the most complex and idiosyncratic art forms, stop motion demands imagination, craft, isolation, an unwavering vision, fortitude, and copious amounts of time."

 

The Cascade Quartet will be using various toys in addition to their usual instruments. They'll be swinging whistling tubes, tilting groaning tubes, and tapping desk bells, together with some loud stomping!

Beethoven continued to innovate in his "late period." That he was able to create with such brilliance while completely deaf is astonishing.

Ludwig van Beethoven
String Quartet No. 15
Opus 132
 

Assai sostenuto – Allegro

Allegro ma non tanto

Molto adagio – Andante

Alla marcia, assai vivace

Allegro appassionato

In 1825, while he was working on this quartet, Beethoven (1770 - 1827) fell seriously ill. At the center of his creation is one of the most famous and deeply personal movements in all of quartet literature. 

 

Beethoven is not only one of the most well-known composers, but also the most revolutionary of all time. He was the first to free musical composition from the constrains of satisfying patrons’ wishes to the freedom of artistic expression of a composer’s inner world. Beethoven studied with Haydn and his early works reflect the classical style of the times. He was able to gain respect from his potential patrons through the recognition of his musical genius. In his mid-twenties Beethoven began to become aware of the decline of his hearing. This period was later recognized as his “middle period” where his work reflected the inner struggle of his changing life situation.

 

The late period, where he focused almost exclusively on string quartets, exudes a more spiritual place of reconciliation with his situation. Opus 132 with its vacillation between A minor and A major can be seen to represent the more positive relief of his spiritual journey, acceptance of his fate, and gratitude for the wonders of the world around him. He wrote this work in 1825, the year after he finished his ninth symphony, and after he survived a deathly illness. The optimistic flavor of the work most likely comes from his gratitude for the gift of recovery.  

This particular quartet may also evoke images of Beethoven’s expression for his love of nature: 

“How happy I am to be able to walk among the shrubs, the trees, the woods, the grass, and the rocks! For the woods, the trees and the rocks give man the resonance he needs.”

The very famous third movement is titled: “Holy song of thanks (Heiliger Dankgesang) to the divinity, from one made well.” The movement alternates from the tender and slow chorale writing to the buoyant andante sections which express so much gratitude and joy. The first movement begins with a slow, fugal-type subject which sets the stage for the vacillating quality between searching and reaching for all that proceeds. The second movement is a folk-like dance. The fourth, a short coy march, is bridged to the finale by a short recitative dialogue with the first violin. The Allegro appassionato follows without pause into a lilting figure in the lower voices underneath the sweeping melody in the violin, later joined by the viola. This final movement exhibits a sense of wonder, joy, and longing all rolled into one. It concludes with a presto bubbling with exuberance and long lines that eventually culminate in such chords of resolve and completion.

––Program notes by Mary Papoulis