Tag Archives: Alexander string quartet

Preview – Alexander String Quartet performs Mozart and Shostakovich Baruch College (4/25/13)

Pieces:

  • W.A. Mozart:  String Quartet No. 23 in F major, K. 590
  • Dmitri Shostakovich:  String Quartet No. 7 in F sharp major, Op. 108

Venue: Baruch Performing Arts Center – Newman Vertical Campus
Baruch College: 25th St. (bet. 3rd and Lexington Aves.), NYC

Performers: Alexander String Quartet

Performed at Baruch’s Performing Arts Center, the Alexander String Quartet is performing the two pieces W.A. Mozart:  String Quartet No. 23 in F major, K. 590 and the piece Dmitri Shostakovich:  String Quartet No. 7 in F sharp major, Op. 108.

The final string quartet of Mozart was to have been the third of six composer intended to dedicate to King Frederick William the 2nd of Prussia, a cello playing monarch.Shortly after entering the F major Quartet in his thematic catalo, Mozart told Puchberg in a further letter that he had been “obliged” to give away the quartets “for a mere song in order to have cash in hand to meet my present difficulties.” Along with its two companions, K. 590 has been generally regarded by commentators as being less successful than the great set of six “Haydn” quartets composed. Artaria’s advertisement for the “Prussian” quartets describes them as “concertante quartets. At the movement’s end, the coda restates the development, gracefully winds down, and ends on a witty high note.

Dmitri Shostakovich’s String Quartet No. 7 in F sharp major, Op. 108 was composed in the 1960s for the memorial of his first wife who died in 1954. It was premiered in Leningrad by Beethoven Quartet and consist of three movements with no breaks. The three movements are Allegretto, Lento, and Allegro. The String Quartet no. 7 in F sharp minor, OP 108, completed in March 1960, is the shortest of all Shostakovich’s quartets lasting only about 13 minutes.The three and a half minute second movement opens with a rising, then falling, four-note motif played on the muted second violin.

Bibliography:

Music for silenced voice : Shostakovich and his fifteen quartets / Wendy Lesser. New Haven : Yale University Press, c2011

Recognition in Mozart’s operas / Jessica Waldoff. New York ; Oxford : Oxford University Press, 2011, c2006.

Preview – Alexander String Quartet Performs Mozart and Shostakovich at Baruch Performing Art Center (4/25)

Pieces:

  • W.A. Mozart:  String Quartet No. 23 in F major, K. 590
  • Dmitri Shostakovich:  String Quartet No. 7 in F sharp major, Op. 108

Venue: Engelman Recital Hall at Baruch Performing Arts Center, Manhattan, New York

Performers:

  • Zakarias Grafilo, first violin
  • Fred Lifsitz, second violin
  • Paul Yarbrough, viola
  • Sandy Wilson, cello

The String Quartet No. 23 in F Major, K.590 was written in 1790. This piece is the third and last quartet of the so called ‘Prussian’ quartets dedicated to the king of Prussia, Friedrich Wilhelm ll. The king was a amateur cellist so I guest thats why Mozart made the cello part stand out from the other instruments. Mozart was not financially stable during this period,writing to Puchberg around 12 June 1790: ‘ I have now been obliged to give away my quartets (those very difficult works) for a mere song, simply in order to have some cash in hand to meet my present difficulties’. The quartets, published by Artaria in 1791, lack a dedication (Eisen and Keefe 2007, 184). I want to see how Mozart make the cello part stand out from the other instruments. I expect this piece to have a royal sound.

Dmitri Shostakovich’s String Quartet No. 7 in F sharp major, Op. 108 was completed in March 1960. Shostakovich had just extricated himself from his unsuccessful second marriage, Shostakovich dedicated his seventh quartet to the memory of his first wife, Nina (Fay 2000, 215-16). This piece was performed by the Beethoven Quartet in Leningrad on May 15 1960 for first time. I wonder why the Alexander String Quartet choose to perform this piece in major key. I guess that Shostakovich choose that specific minor key for a reason and thats something I will discover when I hear this piece in both keys.

Bibliography:

Eisen Cliff, Simon P. Keefe. The Cambridge Mozart Encyclopedia. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2007.

Fay, Laurel E. Shostakovich: A life. New York: Oxford University Press, 2000.

 

 

Preview – Mozart and Shostakovich at Alexander String Quartet (4/25)

Pieces:

  • W.A. Mozart, String Quartet No. 23 in F major, K. 590
  • Dmitri Shostakovich, String Quartet No. 7 in F sharp major, Opus 108

Venue: Engelman Recital Hall, Baruch Preforming Arts Center, Manhattan, NY

Performers: Alexander String Quartet; Zakarias Grafilo, first violin; Fredrick Lifsitz, second violin; Pauly Yarbrough, viola; Sandy Wilson, cello

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=yJ6tkNcRn4Y

W.A. Mozart’s String Quartet No. 23 in F major, K 590 is one of three quartets that he composed under the commission of Frederick William II of Prussia. It was the last one of the three and was composed in June 1790. “This was a time of bitter care and poverty, which made it a painful effort to work at the quartets, but there is even less trace of effort in them than in the earlier ones (Jahn 16).”

Mozart brings the violoncello to the front since this is the instrument that his patron plays. This forces the viola to take the bass part and sets all of the instruments higher than usual. The first violin also alternates a lot with the violoncello. I will look for this when I listen to this piece live as I believe that this will affect how this will sound. This will make it unusual as compared to other quartets since the viola will take the bass part instead of the cello, and the cello will be emphasized.

Dmitri Shostakovich’s String Quartet No. 7 in F sharp major, Opus 108 was written in 1960. “An interesting point is that both the first and last movements are divided into two halves, duple and triple. Where the first movement’s motif has a falling line, the finale’s rises, but the switch to triple time half way through is the same in both movements. Another factor shared by these outer movements is their fluency of line, taking in its stride the various rhythmic irregularities that are used (Kay 53).” This seems unusual compared to other quartets and I will listen for this at the quartet.

I’m looking forward to the quartet as I heard nothing but great things about The Alexander String Quartet.

Jahn, Otto. Life of Mozart. New York: Cooper Square Publishers, Inc., 1970. Print.

Kay, Norman. Shostakovich. London: Oxford University Press, 1971. Print.

Preview– Alexander String Quartet at Baruch Performing Arts Center (4/25)

Pieces:

  • W.A. Mozart:  String Quartet No. 23 in F major, K. 590
  • Dmitri Shostakovich:  String Quartet No. 7 in F sharp major, Op. 108

Venue: Baruch Performing Arts Center – Newman Vertical Campus
Baruch College: 25th St. (bet. 3rd and Lexington Aves.)

Performers: THE ALEXANDER STRING QUARTET- Zakarias Grafilo Violin 1, Frederick Lifsitz Violin 2, Paul Yarbrough Viola, Sandy Wilson Cello

Mozart was a composer that was in debt a lot and constantly asking people to lend him money, so he would compose pieces for people that would pay him. Mozart composed, “six quartets for King Friedrich Wilhelm II of Prussia,” (Hildesheimer 1981, 25) and one of the six quartets was String quartet No. 23 in F Major K. 590. Since String quartet No. 23 is one of the pieces I will be listening to, so now I am expecting the piece to be upbeat and glorifying the King of Prussia. Also Haydn, a composer from the Classical period like Mozart, produced many string quartets and “in Vienna, Haydn and Mozart became close friends and influenced each other’s musical style” (Kamien 1998, 155).

Shostakovich composed, “two of his most highly personal works,” (Wilson 1994, 332) and one of them is String quartet No. 7 in F sharp minor.  This piece was, “dedicated to his late wife, and written to commemorate her fiftieth birthday,” (Wilson 1994, 332) so I would assume he wrote about how he misses her and the good times they had. It is interesting that Alexander String quartet will be playing the string quartet in major instead of minor. So I think it will make it interesting and maybe more livelier than the original.

Bibliography

Hildesheimer, Wolfgang. Mozart. New York : Farrar Straus Giroux, c1981.

Wilson, Elizabeth. Shostakovich: A Life Remembered. Princeton, N.J. : Princeton University Press, c1994.

Kamien, Roger. Music An Appreciation. Boston, Mass. : McGraw-Hill, c1998.