2023 Summer Festival Overview
Wednesday, August 2, 2023
August 2nd through August 13th
This summer we’ll push the limits in our ongoing exploration into the range and potential of the string quartet. Haydn’s convivial Opus 20, No. 3 (1772) is part of the set that established the string quartet as an independent genre. Shostakovich’s sparse 13th quartet (1969) swings to the other emotional extreme and is a paean to isolation from a man tormented relentlessly by the Soviets. Webern’s lush fin de siècle “Langsamer satz” (1905) features romantic music at its zenith just before the tonal structures that undergirded it began to collapse.
Indeed, three years later (1908), halfway through his Second Quartet, Schoenberg pushed tonality over the cliff, while also challenging the definition of what a string quartet is by adding a soprano (!?). Then this summer’s commissioned piece, “The Jury” (2023), by Pulitzer-nominated composer Jon Deak, erodes the line between music and theater. Based on a poem by Rhina P. Espaillat, the soprano stalks behind the musicians during the performance while the string players inhabit characters from the text. (Yes, I’m ridiculously excited about performing this.) Finally, the festival spotlights two solo violin works by Fritz Kreisler (Recitativo and Scherzo-Caprice from 1911) and Eugene Ysaye (Sonata No. 3 in D Minor “Ballade” written in 1923).
The Newburyport Chamber Music Festival is proud to receive the support of six cities and towns through their Local Cultural Councils: Amesbury, Merrimac, Newbury, Newburyport, Rowley, Salisbury, and West Newbury. We make a point each year of holding events in at least a few of those towns surrounding Newburyport, as well as in Newburyport, itself.
WORLD PREMIERE - “The Jury” for string quartet and soprano based on a poem by Rhina P. Espaillat
String Quartet in G Minor, Opus 20, Number 3
Recitativo and Scherzo, Opus 6
String Quartet No. 2, Opus 10
String Quartet No. 13 in Bb Minor, Opus 138
Ballade Sonata Number 3 in D Minor, Opus 27