Eric Chin, violin; Joseph Maile, violin; Pei-Ling Lin, viola; Jeremiah Shaw, cello
Franz Josef Haydn String Quartet in C major, Op. 33, No. 3, ‘Bird’
Brett Dean Eclipse for String Quartet (2003)
Franz Schubert String Quartet No. 14 in D minor, D. 810, ‘Death and the Maiden’
The Telegraph Quartet was formed in September 2013 with a commitment to a passionate approach to the standard chamber music as well as contemporary and non-standard repertoire, alike. Described alternately as “intensely urgent” and “poignantly resonant”, the Telegraph Quartet received the prestigious Grand Prize of the 2014 Fischoff Chamber Music Competition and has gone on to perform in concert halls, music festivals, and academic institutions across the United States and Europe. In this program, the quartet will explore the contrast between light and dark over the course of the evening, and with styles spanning over two hundred years of music. The light and balmy ‘Bird’ Quartet by Hayden, is one of six exceptional quartets that would later be a model for quartets of such composers as Mozart. The quartet is in the sunny key of C major, and explores a variety of pastoral moods—from the lyric to the rustic—and the “bird” makes its cameo on more than one occasion. From here, the darkness starts to seep in, with Australian composer Brett Dean’s Eclipse for String Quartet. Written in 2003 in response to an incident in the Indian Ocean in 2001 involving a Norwegian freighter carrying Iraqi and Afghani refugees, the quartet is an emotional response to the politically charged morass that ensued as the refugees attempted to seek amnesty on Australian shores. The eclipse of the title refers to the process, explored abstractly throughout Dean’s work, in which these refugees found themselves caught up in the muddle of polarized Australian politics, and how differing idealistic beliefs managed to eclipse their very real plight as they drifted in limbo off shore for weeks on end. Last on the program, we transition into true darkness with Schubert’s seemingly autobiographical ‘Death and the Maiden’, based on the song of the same name of 1817. It was written in 1824, four years before Schubert’s death following a very strenuous period of illness for the composer—an illness that would continue to plague him and eventually lead to his death. Inundated with an atmosphere befitting his recent brush with death, the work can be viewed as a dark premonition of what is soon to come. It can also be seen as the first of many defiant triumphs over his future untimely death due to the sheer quality and quantity of works that would succeed this work in a desperate race to artistically cheat his own fate.