The Stolz Quartet/Verbey, Scriabin, Ravel, Zuidam, de Vries

04 Oct 2013 20:30

Venue:
Korzo Theatre
The Hague, Netherlands

The top musicians of The Stolz Quartet move confidently and skilfully through monuments of chamber music from all periods. Their repertoire varies from the adventurously modern to the familiarly classical. Dutch masters such as Klaas de Vries, Rob Zuidam, and Theo Verbey wrote new works for this program. An additional part of the evening is a short workshop for, by, and with the audience. This concert gets everything and everyone moving.Program notes for 4 Preludes to Infinity – Theo Verbey.”The cradle rocks above an abyss, and common sense tells us that our existence is but a brief crack of light between two eternities of darkness.” This quote – the opening of Vladimir Nabokov’s 1947 autobiography, Speak, Memory – can be considered to be a splendid formulation of our inability to face up to our own lives. If there is anything that has become apparent since 2007, then it is our poor capacity to face uncertainties.During the Great Recession, from one moment to the next, we became conscious of how remarkable our life is. Certainties on which we relied our whole lives, proved to be very uncertain. Banks could fail and from one moment to the other, prosperous countries could land in deep economic crisis. In addition, we can have not only a fear of heights, but a fear of great distances, as when we’re standing on the beach of a remote holiday destination, and suddenly see a starry sky on a clear night. And the idea of human life 100, 1,000 or 100,000 years from now can make our heads spin.4 preludes to Infinity was composed in 2013, for hobo, violin, viola and cello and consists of 4 movements, each separately expressing one possible aspect of infinity.It doesn’t try to define infinity, but to shed light on which facets we are able to differentiate.I. Mysterious recalls the world of the Second Viennese School (Schönberg, Berg and Webern) by the use of mutes for the string instruments and the so-called sul ponticello, or bowing near the bridge. II. Restless has an agitated pulse and is reminiscent of the Russian avant-garde of the 1920’s. (Prokofiev, Shostakovich)III. Religious makes use of one of the compositional techniques of the German Baroque (Bach, Händel, Telemann), in which a very old choral melody (Jesu Leiden, Pein und Tod) sounds in the lowest instrument, the cello. In the higher voices, the other instruments move very freely, while taking into account the strict harmonic laws of that time.IV. Luminous is the fastest and the longest of the 4 Preludes. It refers stylistically to the music from the French Impressionism (Debussy, Ravel, Dukas). All references to historical styles are all only meant to give the listener an idea in advance of what he or she will be hearing. Of course the composer remains lord and master over his own material, and the 4 preludes to Infinity is a very personal work.

Program

Verbey: 4 Preludes to Infinity
Ensemble: Stolz Quartet

Ravel: Le tombeau de Couperin
Ensemble: Stolz Quartet
Arranger: Robert Zuidam

Scriabin: Preludes (4) for Piano, Op. 33
Ensemble: Stolz Quartet
Arranger: Theo Verbey