MIRÓ QUARTET
Chamber Music

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Reserved Hall Seats: $50.00, $29.00, $25.00 (partial obstruction)
General Admission/Outdoors/Uncovered: $20.00, Students: $10

miroquartet.com

This concert is in memory of David F. Segal, beloved Chair Emeritus of Maverick Concerts.

Mozart: String Quartet No.19 in C, K.465 “Dissonant”
Caroline Shaw: Microfictions (2021)
Dvořák: Quartet No. 13 in G Major, Op. 106

Daniel Ching, violin
William Fedkenheuer, violin
John Largess, viola
Joshua Gindele, cello

The Miró Quartet is one of America’s most celebrated string quartets, having performed throughout the world on the most prestigious concert stages. For twenty-five years the Miró has performed a wide range of repertoire that pays homage to the legacy of the string quartet while looking forward to the future of chamber music by commissioning new works and collaborating with some of today’s most important artists. Based in Austin, TX, and thriving on the area’s storied music scene, the Miró takes pride in finding new ways to communicate with audiences of all backgrounds. Committed to music education, members of the Quartet have given master classes at universities and conservatories throughout the world; and since 2003, has served as quartet-in-residence at the Butler School of Music at the University of Texas, Austin.

Formed in 1995, the Miró Quartet has been awarded first prize at several competitions including the Banff International String Quartet Competition and Naumburg Chamber Music Competition. In 2005, they became the first ensemble ever to be awarded an Avery Fisher Career Grant. The Miró is quartet-in-residence at Chamber Music Northwest in Portland, OR and Orcas Island Chamber Music Festival in Washington State. The Miró Quartet took its name and its inspiration from the Spanish artist Joan Miró.

Concert in Memory of David F. Segal, Maverick Chair Emeritus

Welcome from Susan Rizwani, Maverick Chair Emerita
Remarks from Cornelia Rosenblum, Maverick Chair Emerita

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791): String Quartet No.19 in C, K.465, “Dissonant”
Adagio – Allegro
Andante
Menuetto: Allegro
Allegro

Caroline Shaw (b.1982): Microfictions [Vol.1], for String Quartet (2021)

INTERMISSION

Antonin Dvorak (1841-1904): String Quartet No.13 in G Major, Op.106
Allegro moderato
Adagio ma non troppo
Molto vivace
Finale: Andante sostenuto – Allegro con fuoco

The Miró Quartet is one of America’s most celebrated string quartets, having performed throughout the world on the most prestigious concert stages. For twenty-five years the Miró has performed a wide range of repertoire that pays homage to the legacy of the string quartet while looking forward to the future of chamber music by commissioning new works and collaborating with some of today’s most important artists. Based in Austin, TX, and thriving on the area’s storied music scene, the Miró takes pride in finding new ways to communicate with audiences of all backgrounds. Committed to music education, members of the Quartet have given master classes at universities and conservatories throughout the world; and since 2003, has served as quartet-in-residence at the Butler School of Music at the University of Texas, Austin.

Formed in 1995, the Miró Quartet has been awarded first prize at several competitions including the Banff International String Quartet Competition and Naumburg Chamber Music Competition. In 2005, they became the first ensemble ever to be awarded an Avery Fisher Career Grant. The Miró is quartet-in-residence at Chamber Music Northwest in Portland, OR and Orcas Island Chamber Music Festival in Washington State. The Miró Quartet took its name and its inspiration from the Spanish artist Joan Miró.

Mozart: String Quartet in C Major, “Dissonant,” K. 465
The String Quartet in C Major, “Dissonant,” K. 465, is the last one of the six that Mozart dedicated to Joseph Haydn. In the dedication, Mozart refers to the works as his sons, whom he is sending out into the world, entrusting them to the guidance of a celebrated man and a good friend.

The quartet gets its nickname of “Dissonant” from the slow introduction (Adagio), with a series of tense and unresolved harmonic clashes. This is the only Mozart string quartet with a slow introduction. The tension is relieved when the Allegro proper starts, giving us a cheerful theme in C major, a key Mozart considered innocent in character. Taking a cue from, and even going beyond, the quartet style developed by Haydn, Mozart gives each of the four instruments an important role. The development fragments the main theme and puts it into the minor mode, before the recapitulation returns it to the sunny major key.

The slow second movement (Andante cantabile) explores the possibilities of lyrical song forms–including simultaneous duet singing and echoing lines between the violin and the cello–but always in the context of an ensemble working together rather than a soloist with subordinate accompaniment.

The Menuetto uses both imitative entries and strong unison passages. Mozart’s fertile imagination could always come up with a plethora of themes, but here he had set himself a challenge–to stick with one theme and use it in a variety of interesting ways. The central Trio starts dramatically in the minor, and even gives the cello a chance to sing the theme.

Mozart was not content with the predictable rondo for the finale (Allegro molto), so he wrote a passionate movement that combines sonata and rondo form. Themes recur, but are also developed in ways we would expect in a first movement. With staccatos, fast runs, and dramatic pauses, Mozart shows the unmistakable influence of his mentor, while at the same time display-ing his own unique style.
– Miriam Villchur Berg, 2006

Caroline Shaw: Microfictions [Vol.1] for String Quartet (2022)
Caroline Shaw is a musician who moves among roles, genres, and mediums, trying to imagine a world of sound that has never been heard before but has always existed. She works often in collaboration with others, as producer, composer, violinist, and vocalist. Caroline is the recipient of the 2013 Pulitzer Prize in Music, several Grammy awards, an honorary doctorate from Yale, and a Thomas J. Watson Fellowship. This year’s projects include the score to “Fleishman is in Trouble” (FX/Hulu), vocal work with Rosalía (MOTOMAMI), the score to Josephine Decker’s “The Sky Is Everywhere” (A24/Apple), music for the National Theatre’s production of “The Crucible” (dir. Lyndsey Turner), Justin Peck’s “Partita” with NY City Ballet, a new stage work “LIFE” (Gandini Juggling/Merce Cunningham Trust), the premiere of “Microfictions Vol. 3” for NY Philharmonic and Roomful of Teeth, a live orchestral score for Wu Tsang’s silent film “Moby Dick” co-composed with Andrew Yee, two albums on Nonesuch (“Evergreen” and “The Blue Hour”), the score for Helen Simoneau’s dance work “Delicate Power”, tours of Graveyards & Gardens (co-created immersive theatrical work with Vanessa Goodman), and tours with So Percussion featuring songs from “Let The Soil Play Its Simple Part” (Nonesuch), amid occasional chamber music appearances as violist (Chamber Music Society of Minnesota, La Jolla Music Society). Caroline has written over 100 works in the last decade, for Anne Sofie von Otter, Davóne Tines, Yo Yo Ma, Renée Fleming, Dawn Upshaw, LA Phil, Philharmonia Baroque, Seattle Symphony, Cincinnati Symphony, Aizuri Quartet, The Crossing, Dover Quartet, Calidore Quartet, Brooklyn Rider, Miro Quartet, I Giardini, Ars Nova Copenhagen, Ariadne Greif, Brooklyn Youth Chorus, Britt Festival, and the Vail Dance Festival. She has contributed production to albums by Rosalía, Woodkid, and Nas. Her work as vocalist or composer has appeared in several films, tv series, and podcasts including The Humans, Bombshell, Yellowjackets, Maid, Dark, Beyonce’s Homecoming, Tár, Dolly Parton’s America, and More Perfect.

In 2021, the Miró Quartet gave the world premiere of Microfictions [Vol.1], which was written for the Quartet and commissioned by Premiere Performances (Hong Kong), Shriver Hall (Baltimore), Carnegie Hall, La Jolla Music Society, and Chamber Music Houston. A set of six miniatures inspired by the surreal paintings of the quartet’s painterly namesake, as well as the bite-sized science fiction published on Twitter by T. R. Darling, the composer attended the first performances onstage, reading her own “microfiction” inspired by Darling, in between each of the movements. Termed “delightful” by the Washington Classical Review, Microfictions has since its first performance at Shriver Hall been performed by the Miró Quartet in many of America’s finest chamber music festivals, including the nearby Caramoor Festival.

Antonin Dvorak: Quartet No.13 in G Major
In 1895, Antonin Dvořák returned from his successful sojourn in the United States, during which he wrote a quartet and a quintet for strings as well as his Ninth Symphony, From the New World. Although he had greatly enjoyed the new experiences and the adulation he had received in America, he was also extremely homesick. After returning to his beloved Bohemia, he wrote of his great joy at being home, and of the ease of working on the String Quartet No. 13 in G Major, Op. 106. This quartet, his penultimate chamber work, was one of two he composed upon his homecoming. After this, he concentrated on tone poems on Czech subjects for the rest of his life.

The opening Allegro moderato presents a simple, short, fragmentary motif—an upward leap (a major sixth) followed by a cheerful cascade of notes. The development takes it into various keys, including minor keys, turning a small gesture into a substantial theme. When Dvořák taught composition at the Prague Conservatory, he wrote that he saw composition as the ability “to make a great deal—a very great deal—out of nothing much.” (As did Beethoven, apparently.) A second theme is playful, with prancing triplet accompaniment, and its development becomes the basis of the final cadence.

The slow movement (Adagio ma non troppo) alternates major and minor treatments of the theme, demonstrating the way contrasting emotions can coexist. Rich chords beneath a simple but mellifluous aria express deep contentment. When the melody moves into minor, the accompaniment takes on a poignant urgency.

The scherzo (Molto vivace) uses the cross-rhythms of the Czech folk dance known as the skočná. Instead of the usual ABA structure, this movement has two trios arranged in mirror fashion, making the outline ABACABA. Moods range from lively to lyrical, and keys travel widely—from B minor to A flat major to D major and back to B minor.

In the finale, a brief slow introduction (Andante sostenuto) leads into a fiery presentation of the theme (Allegro con fuoco). As with the scherzo, internal symmetry balances the movement, with recurring episodes as well as recurring rondo themes. To enhance the cyclic organization even further, the prancing theme and the upward leap from the first movement make brief appearances.

– © Miriam Villchur Berg, 2016

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