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