'String Quartet' Brian Black (1953-) performed by Aureus quartet
Summer Classical Concert Series - Beethoven/Webern/Black/Shostakovich
19th Jun 15
Forty Hall Estate, Enfield
String Quartet No.4, Op.18 No.4
Ludwig van Beethoven
String Quartet No.2, Op. 18 No.2
Ludwig van Beethoven
Quartet No. 4
Quartet No. 8
String Quartet No. 2
Quartet No. 53 in D major ("The Lark"), Op. 64, No. 5
Quartet No. 61 in D minor ("Fifths"), Op. 76, No. 2
Langsamer Satz (1905)
La Camera Bianca
The Aureus Quartet gave the world premiere of this work at the Old Royal Naval College Chapel, Greenwich - 20/02/15
"A native of Montreal, Brian Black studied music first at McGill University, then at the Guildhall School in London and finally returned to McGill, where he earned his Ph.D in Musicology with a dissertation on the early string quartets of Franz Schubert. He is presently associate professor of musicology at the University of Lethbridge in Alberta, Canada.
The idea for his string quartet first came to him after reading the Diary of Anne Frank in the early 1970's. He did not write out the work until 2011-2013 in Lethbridge. Originally the quartet was to end positively with a lullaby for the girl, but the continuing cycle of violence in the interim with the Rwandan genocide and the massacre of Srebrenica caused him to rethink the work's ending.
The quartet consists of four movements contained in one. It begins with a lament depicting the Anne's yearning for spring while in hiding. This is followed by an aggressive fugato/scherzo for the destructive forces surrounding the Frank family. The music then subsides into a hollow chant conveying the echoing voices of the victims, which still haunt the landscapes where they perished. This dirge in turn warms into a lullaby for Anne, wherein the most agonized ideas of the opening lament are recalled and washed clean of suffering. But the music subsequently spirals downwards to the yearning of its beginning, ending with a gesture of protest that subsides into the quartet's opening viola lament. Now what was originally associated with Anne conveys the grief of a survivor of the Srebrenica massacre over the slaughter of his whole family."