We welcome back Norway’s Engegård Quartet for another recital of thrilling music for string quartet. The Mozart and Bartók may perhaps be more familiar and it will be fascinating to hear Fanny Mendelssohn’s quartet as we look to increase our knowledge and understanding of historically under-appreciated work by female composers.
In our pursuit of the season’s theme of The Relationship between Literature, Art & Music it is however Maja Ratkje’s A Tale of Lead and Light that is the most immediately arresting. As the following note from the composer suggests, the links between the various ideas that can inspire a piece are often very layered and part of an overall aesthetic that can defy simple analysis.
‘The backdrop for this commission was to complement music by the great Ludwig van Beethoven. Beethoven’s scores for string quartet is a cornucopia of techniques and musicality. They were certainly not meant for pure entertainment. Ending up with Beethoven’s quartet Op 59 No.1 as a reference for this piece, I even used elements from this quartet in my own composition.
Beethoven’s position as a free artist has been of great importance to all following composers. This is of equal inspiration as his music. As a free artist, one has to reflect upon our own time, and not be afraid of allowing reality affect our work. When I was in the middle of writing this piece something horrible happened in my neighbourhood. A bomb exploded in Oslo and a killer shot teenagers on an island summer camp. My nation’s reputation as a peaceful country to live in was drastically and forever changed. It was hard to compose. Papers and online media were soon filled with horrible pictures from the events. The lead-coloured skies being a recurring sight.
The ambiguity in the title reflects both hope and dread. Beethoven’s light shines through, strong and full of life!’
- Richard Sisson (Chair of Luton Music)
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart – String Quartet No.19 in C Dissonance K465
Béla Bartók – String Quartet No.3
Maja Ratkje – A Tale of Lead and Light
Fanny Mendelssohn – String Quartet
Arvid Engegård– violin
Alex Robson – violin
Juliet Jopling – viola
Jan Clemens Carlsen – cello
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