Examiner.com PREVIEW: Composers, Inc. to feature the Cypress String Quartet

Source: www.examiner.com
September 13, 2012
by Stephen Smoliar

At the beginning of next month. Composers, Inc. will begin their 2012–13 season of recitals at Old First Church, offered in conjunction with the Old First Concerts series. On this occasion the Cypress String Quartet (violinists Cecily Ward and Tom Stone, violist Ethan Filner, and cellist Jennifer Kloetzel) will serve as guest artists, giving the world premiere of the sixth quartet by Elena Ruehr, a composer with whom they have worked extensively in the past through both recording sessions and their annual Call & Response project. They will also perform two other pieces both written for and premiered by them.

Ruehr has dedicated her new quartet to Todd Donovan, late Executive Director of the Cypress String Quartet. She has described this memorial piece in terms of “a belief in music as an expressive, lyrical and narrative medium.” It will be her third Cypress commission over the past five years.

The earliest work on the program will be George Tsontakis’ fifth quartet. This was the Cypress Call & Response commission for 2006. The “call” for this project consisted of the last five quartets by Ludwig van Beethoven, all recorded by the Cypress and released as a three-CD set at the beginning of this year. Tsontakis dedicated the quartet to the memory of George Rochberg, who died in 2005.

Kevin Puts’ “Lento Assai” was also a Call & Response work, composed in 2009. Beethoven again figured in the “call.” However, this time the “call” consisted of both Beethoven’s final quartet (Opus 135 in F major) and Felix Mendelssohn’s Opus 13 in A minor, his second quartet. Lento assai is the tempo specification of the third movement of Opus 135, the longest movement of the quartet, while Mendelssohn’s quartet shows a particular preference for the Adagio non lento tempo.

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