Comprised of three radically different quartets, each in the key of F, our program explores the classicism of Mozart, the budding modernism of Benjamin Britten, and a musical form of impressionism in the lone string quartet by French master Maurice Ravel all through the lens of a common key. Interestingly, all three pieces were composed while the respective composer was in his 20’s, which has nothing to do with the letter ‘F’, unless one considers those years to be formative.
F minor: The Phantasy for oboe and string trio, Op. 2, by Benjamin Britten, though conceived in the key of F minor, marked the composer’s first major success. Composed in 1932 and premiered in 1933, the piece eventually garnered international attention by its inclusion in a prominent music festival in Florence, Italy, in 1934. Today the work surely gives Britten serious street cred, if only for his penchant for substituting ‘Ph’ for ‘F’ in his spelling of the word fantasy.
Phantasy. F minor. Festival in Florence.
F Major: The Oboe Quartet, K. 370, by Mozart was composed in 1781 for the virtuoso oboe soloist of the famed Mannheim Orchestra, Friedrich Ramm. The English word oboe is derived from the French word haubois meaning high wood. Mozart’s quartet, for all its melodic beauty, is known for its using one of the highest notes of the high wood, the high F.
Famed orchestra. Friedrich. High F.
F Major: French composer Maurice Ravel composed his only string quartet between 1902 and 1903. It is dedicated to his teacher, Gabriel Fauré. While Fauré must have been honored to receive the dedication, he declared the quartet’s Finale to be a failure. Time has proven Fauré to be most incorrect on this score. The quartet is cyclical, meaning that music presented in the first movement reappears throughout the four movements. In the Finale, Ravel makes extensive use of an unconventional rhythmic cycle of five beats and asks the performers to go very fast.
French. Fauré. Finale failure? False! In five. Fast.
If you are the sort who likes to give grades, we hope that you will give our exploration of the letter ‘F’ an A+… certainly not an F!
Artists: Timothy Christie, Maria Sampen, Sally Singer, Dan Williams, Harlem Quartet, Jaime Amador, Ilmar Gavilán, Ismar Gomes and Melissa White.
Sunday, January 19, 7 p.m. undefined Gesa Power House Theater, Sixth & Rose undefined $20
Note: Child and student tickets are $8. Family tickets are $45 for two adults and up to four children.