Monday, August 3, 2009
On behalf of all the musicians playing in this year's Autumn Classics I welcome you to an extraordinary musical adventure!
The six String Quartets by Sergei Taneyev form one of the most remarkable groups of compostions I have ever encountered. So imaginative in conception are they, and so skillfully realized for the demanding idiom of the String Quartet, that I have not felt as though I had discovered such another fascinating and astonishing world since first making the acquaintance of the music of Beethoven's last period.
From the outset of the First Quartet, which is dedicated to Taneyev's teacher, Tschaikowsky, composed in 1890 when the older master was still alive, to the dizzying conclusion of the last Quartet, from 1905, Taneyev explores an enormous variety of ideas, motives and inventions, for which he creates forms and sonorities that challenge and please us in ways that we've seldom or never seen before.
All of the performerfs in this year's Autumn Classics series have had occasion to marvel at and delight in learning other wonderful music by Taneyev. The idea of coming to know the six canonic Quartets (there exist three others, youtthful compositions which Taneyev declined to publish in his lifetime) followed naturally from this admiration. After ten exhilarating Spring days together in Southern California devoted to the exploration of this music, we are now thrilled to have the opportunity to share our discoveries and our passsion with our Anchorage audiences.
I don't know when, if ever, these Quartets have been performed all together in one series of concerts. It would be interesting to know about that but, in any case, the works are virtually unknown in our concert halls and the chance to play them and to hear them is definitely a very rare experience and, I'm sure you will agree, a richly satisfying one.
The other music on the programs for this year's Autumn Classics is being presented in such a way that you may meet the performers on grounds of their choosing. This I arranged by the simple expedient of asking them: What would you enjoy playing? And since they will enjoy performing it, I am confident that you will enjoy listening to it.
Thank you for coming to share these very special weekends of music with us!
Posted by Sitka at 4:00 PM