Daedalus quartet to perform tomorrow

Preview

December 08, 2006|By Sarah Hoover | Sarah Hoover,special to the sun

The Daedelus String Quartet takes its name from an ancient Greek inventor who, to escape captivity, built himself wings with which to fly. Judging from critics' praise for this young ensemble, these four musicians are already soaring. They alight briefly in Howard County at 8 p.m. tomorrow at Howard Community College's Smith Theatre to perform works by Beethoven, Schubert, Kurtag and Debussy.

Daedelus' program opens with Beethoven's String Quartet No. 1 in F, Op. 18 No. 1. Beethoven aficionados will recognize this work as one of his first six-string quartets. As he completed his first symphony, Beethoven also turned to the popular genre of the string quartet.

Beethoven's early style owes a great deal to Mozart and Haydn: this piece is cleanly Classical in form and thematic structure, the unfolding drama of its four movements balanced to create an elegant architectural whole. The composer acknowledged that he revised the piece substantially, "having just learned," he stated with rather uncharacteristic modesty, "how to write quartets properly."

Schubert's D 703 No. 12 in C, the "Quartettsatz," is a wild ride. It opens with an agitated motive, which thereafter collides repeatedly with a soaring and lissome melody.

The whole piece, musically and emotionally dense, lasts more than seven breathless minutes. This is one of Schubert's several short one-movement works (called a satz). Written in 1820, it was intended to become part of a larger work that was never completed.

Hungarian composer Gyorgy Kurtag's stunning "Officium breve," Op. 28, is subtitled "In memoriam Andre Szervanszky." The composer called it his "Mini-Requiem," dedicated to composer and countryman Szervanszky.

The work contains 15 brief sections that include a quotation from Szervanszky's Serenade for strings as well as several musical homages to 12-tone composer Anton Webern. Though the work is an intricate structure of Modernist tonality and complex rhythms, its overall sound - luminous and keening - is hauntingly beautiful.

We have few examples of the French Impressionist string quartet: Debussy and Ravel each wrote only one. Debussy's String Quartet in G, Op. 10 is made up of four traditionally structured movements, but Impressionist style permeates this canonical form. (Debussy had just completed his celebrated Prelude a l'apres-midi d'une faune the same year.) Debussy's orchestral sonorities are everywhere present here on the intimate scale of chamber music.

Lauded for technical facility and musical intelligence, the Daedelus Quartet will bring its considerable skills to bear in a wide-ranging program.

Founded in 2000, the Daedelus Quartet won Grand Prize one year later in the Banff International String Quartet Competition.

The group (made up of brother and sister violinists Kyu-Young Kim and Min-Young Kim, who alternate on first violin, violist Jessica Thompson and cellist Raman Ramakrishnan) was recently named Chamber Music Society Two quartet by the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center and was selected by Carnegie Hall to participate in the ECHO Rising Stars Program, taking it to major concert halls throughout Europe.

Daedelus also has been the Ernst Stiefel Quartet in Residence at the Caramoor Center for Music and the Arts.

Tickets are $29 for general admission, $26 for those ages 60 and older, and $12 for full-time students up to age 24.

There will be a free "Meet the Artists & the Music" lecture at 6:45 before the concert. For tickets and further information, call 410-480-9950 or e-mail candlelight.concerts@verizon.net.

Columba Pro Cantare

For those seeking holiday musical cheer this weekend, Columbia Pro Cantare's 28-voice Chamber Singers will offer "A Christmas Noel" at 3 p.m. Sunday at Christ Episcopal Church in Columbia. The group's 10th annual program will include settings of traditional carols, spirituals and several lesser-known anthems.

Tickets are $15 in advance and $13 for seniors and students. Tickets are $2 more at the door. Credit cards will be accepted.

For tickets and more information, call 301-854-0107 or 410-799-9321, or e-mail chorus@procantare.org.

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