An Auditory Scenario
Just weeks after acclaimed performances at the Logan Launch Festival and Milwaukee's Unruly Music Festival, the Spektral Quartet embarks upon another demanding program with An Auditory Scenario for the performers to act out with their instruments. The show's title is derived from a quote by New York-based composer Elliott Carter, now 103 years old, whose landmark Quartet No. 2 (1959) anchors the program. A pillar of the high modernist repertoire, Carter's second quartet is written with the listener very much in mind with its goal-oriented structure and strikingly audible constructions. Most notable, though, is the independence of the four instruments. The first violin is charged with wild virtuosity, the second violin with ultra-complex time-keeping, the viola with emotive exhalations and the cello with bouts of impetuousness and vehemence. Each player dons this aural persona throughout, and it is within the dialogue and conflict of these layers that the genius of the music is uneartheda genius that netted Carter a Pulitzer in 1960. The four distinctive personalities comprising the Spektral Quartet here have an opportunity to whisper, converse and shout, "acting out with their instruments."
The Verdi score on Wednesday's program stands as the Italian composer's sole offering in the string quartet genre. That the String Quartet in E minor was written largely by happenstance makes the vivacious, operatic work all more remarkable. When a soprano's illness brought the production of his Aida premiere to a screeching halt, Verdi absconded for Naples and there penned the quartet primarily as a diversion. Later he would claim that he didn't know if the piece was beautiful or ugly, but audiences have since resolutely heralded the work as a masterpiece.
Opening An Auditory Scenario is a Spektral favorite, and one which the quartet studied early on in its career. The glorious second movement of Haydn's String Quartet Opus 76 No. 3 ("Kaiser") is well known the world over as the German national anthem, for which it was appropriated, but the surrounding movements are far more than B-sides. At the time of penning this work, Haydn found himself at the height of fame and mass-appeal. Bursting with sumptuous harmonies and superb counterpoint, Opus 76 No. 3 will find an excellent home in the inviting acoustics of Uptown's National Pastime Theater, where Spektral was featured this past September at Beethoven Festival 2012. Like the festival, An Auditory Scenario is B.Y.O.B., so the gentlemen of the quartet invite you to plan accordingly.
The National Pastime Theater (View)
941 W Lawrence Ave, 4th floor
Chicago, IL 60640
|Dog Friendly: No|
|Wheelchair Accessible: Yes!|