Ceci n’est pas a string quartet
Idiosyncratic explorations by visionary composers
Dec 3 2020
Muziekgebouw Up Close. A performance in an intimate setting, both live and via livestream.
Intimate compositions for (around) four string players, but they’re not string quartets. The composers, visionaries of the past century, completely redefined the aristocratic genre.Take Igor Stravinsky for example, who wrote his raw Three Pieces for String Quartet straight after his (in)famous ballet Le sacre du printemps. The influence of folk music is clearly noticeable, as is his unique disruptive style. Despite the misleading title, there is no sign of the classical traditional string quartet.Louis Andriessen also shook up conventions of the genre, when he added a voice to the three-voice Bach prelude. Ceci n’est pas a string quartet. Andriessen sought inspiration from the legendary Miserere by Bach’s contemporary Allegri for his own …miserere…, but moved it through the colours of his own imagination.James Tenney’s string trio Harmonium #5 is a subtle exploration of sound first and foremost, but develops an irresistible groove along the way.Luciano Berio, frontman of the post-war avant-garde movement, used his spare time to create musical portraits of his friends and acquaintances in the series Duetti for two violins. People come and go, but these stunning miniature portraits will remain forever.