Performing this Week
Orion String Quartet
The Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival
Summer 2009 — Week 3
JOHANN FRIEDRICH FASCH
Concerto in D Major for Trumpet, Two Oboes, Strings & Continuo
David Washburn, trumpet; Allen Vogel and Robert Ingliss, oboes; L.P. How and Kathleen Brauer, violins; Yu Jin, viola; Mark Brandfonbrenner, cello; Marji Danilow, bass; Kathleen McIntosh, harpsichord
Fasch's Concerto in D Major for Trumpet, Two Oboes, Strings & Continuo calls for a rather large groups of players, and so it isn't heard very often at chamber music festivals. Pieces like this are possible at the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival, in part because of the Festival's proximity and good relationship with the Santa Fe Opera.
Festival artistic director Marc Neikrug told Kerry Frumkin about assembling the ensemble for this performance. Here's an unedited excerpt of their conversation.
LUDWIG VAN BEETHOVEN
String Quartet in B-Flat Major, Op. 130 with the Grosse Fuge, Op. 133
Orion String Quartet: Todd Phillips and Daniel Phillips, violins; Steven Tenenbom, viola; Timothy Eddy, cello
Here Orion String Quartet violinist Daniel Phillips talks about undertaking what he calls "the Mt. Everest of string quartets..." the full cycle of string quartets by Beethoven.
To cover the entire cycle of Beethoven's quartets is to travel through the composer's entire creative life's work, and in so doing come to know him on a more personal level. Marc Neikrug explains how this can impact the musician undertaking the cycle.
Kerry Frumkin asked Marc Neikrug about the Orion String Quartet's decision to perform Opus 130 in the original version with the Grosse Fuge. "If you're going to do epic and monumental," Marc replied, "you may as well do epic and monumental." Here is an unedited excerpt from their conversation.
"GREAT FUGUE: Secrets of a Beethoven Manuscript"
"Last summer, a librarian at the Palmer Theological Seminary, outside Philadelphia, reached onto the bottom shelf of a basement cabinet and pulled out a lost manuscript by Beethoven." So begins Alex Ross's excellent 2006 New Yorker article about the discovery and sale of what Lewis Lockwood, the leading American Beethoven authority, called a "musicological Holy Grail," a working manuscript score for a piano version of Beethoven's Grosse Fuge.
The Grosse Fuge, or Great Fugue, is the original final movement for his Opus 130 quartet, and has been hailed as the turning point between the classical era and everything that came after. University of Pennsylvania musicologist Jeffrey Kallberg said, "This was a controversial and not understood work because it was so ahead of its time. It sounds like it was written by a dissonant 20th-century composer."
When the composer's own arrangement of the Grosse Fuge for piano four-hands re-appeared after 115 years, Alex Ross was among the lucky people who had the opportunity to see it in person. Read his "GREAT FUGUE: Secrets of a Beethoven Manuscript" here.