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Santa Fe Pro Musica
New Orford String Quartet

Jonathan Crow, violin
Andrew Wan, violin
Eric Nowlin, viola
Brian Manker, cello

Saturday, October 10, 2015 at 4:00pm
St. Francis Auditorium, New Mexico Museum of Art

 Santa Fe, NM — Experience the extraordinary.

On October 10th, experience the mesmerizing musicianship of the New Orford String Quartet in the intimate setting of St. Francis Auditorium, inside the New Mexico Museum of Art. Hailed for their “ravishingly beautiful tone” as well as their “extraordinary technical skills and musicianship,” the members of the New Orford String Quartet are all principal players in the Montreal and Toronto Symphony Orchestras. The ensemble will perform a varied program of Schubert, Wolf, Beethoven, Hétu, and Debussy.

New Orford 1 photo Alain Lefort

WHAT:
New Orford String Quartet
Jonathan Crow, violin
Andrew Wan, violin
Eric Nowlin, viola
Brian Manker, cello

WHEN:
Saturday, October 10, 2015 at 4:00pm

WHERE:
St. Francis Auditorium
New Mexico Museum of Art
107 West Palace Avenue
Santa Fe, NM 87501

TICKETS: $20, $35, $48, $69
Santa Fe Pro Musica Box Office (505) 988-4640
Tickets Santa Fe at The Lensic (505) 988-1234
www.santafepromusica.com

Discounts for students, teachers, groups, and families are available exclusively through the Santa Fe Pro Musica Box Office.

Artist Sponsor:

Westaf

Media Partner:

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About the Program

Notes by Carol Redman

Schubert Quartettsatz in C Minor, D. 703
Wolf Italian Serenade
Beethoven Quartet in F Minor, Op. 95 “Serioso”
Hétu Scherzo
Debussy Quartet in G Minor, Op. 10

Franz Schubert (1797-1828)
Quartettsatz in C Minor, D. 703

Although the amount of Schubert’s instrumental chamber music is small compared to his vocal compositions, they include some of his most beloved works, including the Trout Quintet, the string quartet Death and the Maiden, and the Quartettsatz (quartet movement). As its name suggests, the Quartettsatz is not a complete four- movement string quartet, but a single movement that was originally intended as the first movement of a multi-movement work. Like his most famous “unfinished” work, the Symphony No. 8, the Quartettsatz is now accepted as a complete work. This quartet marked a departure from his previous eleven string quartets and is considered his first mature quartet. The earlier quartets were written as “Hausmusik” (music performed in the home by amateur musicians) with Schubert’s brothers Ignaz and Ferdinand on violins, his father playing cello, and Franz on viola. Composing for amateurs, Schubert had written fairly easy parts. But with the Quartettsatz (and his last three quartets), Schubert followed his inspiration without concern for his performer’s proficiency. The Quartettsatz makes great technical demands and was clearly intended for professional musicians. Though composed in 1820, the Quartettsatz did not receive its first public performance until 1867 and was not published until 1870.

Hugo Wolf (1860-1903)
Italian Serenade

Hugo Wolf lived a short life marked by scandalous drama and prolific musical production. Known to his friends as “Wild Wolf,” he was expelled from the Vienna Conservatory, had affairs with married Viennese socialites, and at the age of 43 ended his days in an asylum following a mental breakdown, exacerbated by syphilis. Despite his tumultuous personal life, Wolf wrote an extraordinary collection of music; primarily art songs in the tradition of Schubert and Schumann.

His Italian Serenade is one of his rare string pieces. The word “serenade” historically implies music that is light and entertaining for relaxing social evenings. Wolf’s Serenade largely conforms to this character. “The music develops into a sharply articulated adventure with a bit more intrigue than one might expect of a ‘little night music,’ entirely consonant with an Italian evening, particularly the wild intrigue of a Venetian carnival. And just like a group of masked figures that approach, pass and disappear into the night, the intrigue evaporates and the music resumes its giddy serenade” (Earsense).

Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827)
String Quartet in F Minor, Op. 95 “Serioso”

“Beethoven’s sixteen string quartets round off in a burst of glory the great tradition begun and already carried to miraculous heights by Haydn and Mozart. Between the three composers we have more than 100 works, which represent some of the most sophisticated, intellectual and beautiful music ever written. 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 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).

The String Quartet Op. 95 “Serioso” is dedicated to Nikolaus Zmeskall, Beethoven’s life-long and devoted friend. The autograph score of the quartet, titled “Quartetto serioso,” is dated October 1810. The quartet is extremely compressed compared with most of Beethoven’s middle-period works, and its unusual key of F Minor recalls that of his Appassionata Sonata, the dungeon scene in his opera Fidelio, and his oppressive Egmont Overture. Echoes of the moods of these earlier works can clearly be heard here. Beethoven stated in a letter, “This Quartet is written for a small circle of connoisseurs and is never to be performed in public.” With this piece he seems to be experimenting with ideas that he would draw on later, including interesting use of silences, metric ambiguity, and seemingly unrelated outbursts.

Jacques Hétu (1938-2010)
Scherzo, Op. 54 (1992)

French-Canadian composer Jacques Hétu was one of his country’s most prominent musicians and an influential teacher. His catalogue includes some 70 works, most of them conceived for traditional ensembles (string quartet, wind quintet, symphony orchestra). He described his music as combining classical forms and romantic effects with 20th century techniques. The original Italian meaning of the word scherzo is to joke, jest, trick or frolic. In its musical form, it is a vigorous, playful and often humorous piece.

Claude Debussy (1862-1918)
String Quartet in G Minor, Op. 10

Reacting against the dominant influence of Germanic music with its logical rigors of form and development, Debussy sought a new musical language of color, sensation, fleeting moods and relaxed forms that is distinctively French. He believed that passion did not need to be measured in decibels and felt that “music must be supple enough to adapt itself to the lyrical effusions of the soul and the fantasy of dreams.”

In 1893 Debussy composed what was to be his first important work, the String Quartet in G Minor, Op. 10. Outwardly, the quartet assumes the mold of a traditional string quartet with four movements: a first movement sonata, a rhythmic scherzo, a slow lyrical movement and an energetic finale. But within this standard template, the music sounds completely new “with swiftly changing tempi, a wealth of dazzling figurations, cross-rhythms and the special shimmering pulsations typical of his music” (Earsense). Critics at the first performance railed against its “orgies of modulation.” When one of his friends expressed reservations about this quartet, Debussy reassured him that he would try to write another more well-behaved quartet. Ultimately this was to be his only string quartet.

About the New Orford String Quartet

Hailed for their “ravishingly beautiful tone” as well as their “extraordinary technical skills and musicianship” the members of the New Orford String Quartet are all principal players in the Montreal and Toronto Symphony Orchestras. In 2009, these like-minded musicians came together with a plan to revolutionize the concept of string quartet playing in Canada, bringing together four stars of the classical music field for a limited touring schedule on a project-by-project basis inspired by the success of modern chamber orchestras such as the Chamber Orchestra of Europe and Mahler Chamber Orchestra. Rather than committing to a year-round schedule, the members of the quartet meet for residencies in various centres for short periods of time, providing a fresh perspective on interpretations of standard string quartet repertoire. The New Orford String Quartet is also dedicated to promoting Canadian works, both new commissions and neglected repertoire from the previous century.

Read more at: http://www.en.neworford.com/about.php

Santa Fe Pro Musica brings together outstanding musicians to inspire and educate audiences of all ages through the performance of great music. Founded in 1980 by Thomas O’Connor (Music Director and Conductor) and Carol Redman (Associate Artistic Director and Principal Flute), Santa Fe Pro Musica offers a variety of classical music programs in historic Santa Fe venues, and presents professional musical performances for orchestra, string quartet, chamber ensemble, and performances on baroque instruments. The Santa Fe Pro Musica orchestra has been internationally recognized with a 2008 GRAMMY® nomination for Best Classical Album/Small Ensemble for its recording, in collaboration with the Smithsonian Chamber Players, of Gustav Mahler’s Das Lied von der Erde/The Song of the Earth.

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The 2015-2016 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).

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