Last weekend the Acacia Quartet returned to the Independent for another eclectic program of mostly modern music. They opened with the program’s namesake ‘Fratres’ or ‘Brothers’ written by one who is considered the most widely performed modern composer in the world, Estonian Arvo Pärt. Fratres was written a year before what is considered his most popular piece ‘Spiegel im Spiegel’ in the 1970s after an inspiring study of medieval and Renaissance period music. Converting to Orthodox Christianity made things extremely hard for Pärt as it clashed with the values of his Soviet cultural censors causing them to ban Fratres and any work with a hint of religion included. Finally negotiating an exit to Berlin for himself and his family Pärt was free to spread his music throughout the world.
The inspiration of the Gregorian chant is clear in Fratres with unusual pitch and chords used in the music. First violin, viola and cello play over a singular drone from the 2nd violin which gives the piece an earthy, solid foundation from which to naturally grow. Sections of the work are completed with a repeated staccato pattern from the cello, its predictability making the work extremely satisfying and assuring for the audience. Continue reading THE ACACIA QUARTET : FRATRES @ THE INDEPENDENT→
It’s all about rhythm and texture in this exciting program by Acacia Quartet. Starting with Osvaldo Golijov’s haunting Tenebrae, we are transported above the planet, seeing Earth as a beautiful blue sphere. Beautiful, pulsating textures are carefully threaded with haunting melodies. Golijov finds a way to contrast this celestial beauty with the damage and ugliness humans have inflicted on each other, and the planet itself.
Dmitri Shostakovich’s String Quartet No.7 is dedicated to his first wife, written in 1960, five years after her death. Although short, the quartet shows all the emotion and heightened drama of Shostakovich’s best work — nervous energy and rapid pulses next to hypnotic lyrical passages.
Acacia has a very special relationship with composer Lyle Chan and they’re very proud to present the world premiere of Andante Moderato by him, subtle, subdued and elegant.
Acacia also love to celebrate both the classic and the quirky, and now they give us Javier Alvarez’s Metro Chabacano – a dedication to one of Mexico City’s subway stations. An evocative sound world, it is characterised by a continuous eighth-note movement with short melodic solos for all instruments.
And lastly, an inspired finale with Maurice Ravel’s work, String Quartet in F. Composed in 1903 Ravel hoped the piece would both impress his composition teacher, Gabriel Fauré, and win the prestigious Rome Prize. Did he win both prize and praise?
The very hip Acacia Quartet celebrated their fifth birthday with a wonderful concert. The audience serenaded the quartet with a loud and rousing vocal rendition of “Happy Birthday To You”, an old classic by Patty and Mildred J. Hill from Warner/Chappell Music.
The evening of classical ear-candy began with “Untitled”, composed by Lyle Chan. This was its world premiere performance.
The lovely and historic Australian Hall provided a fine and understated location for the Acacia Quartet’s presentation of LOVE NOTES, a program of works for string quartet under the loose umbrella of love in its many guises. It follows their ongoing quest for versatile and innovative presentations of classical string quartet music in a new, unusual and challenging format.