Tuesday, March 3 at Dazzle
20th Century Masterpieces for String Quartet:
Bartók and Reich
Join us for an unusual and powerful evening at Dazzle featuring members of the Playground Ensemble in a program called Twentieth Century Masterpieces for String Quartet: Bartók and Reich.
Béla Bartók and Steve Reich are undisputed masters of twentieth century music. Bartók’s folk-influenced modernism was a powerful voice in the first half of the century, while Reich’s tech-savvy minimalism redefined music for the second half.
String Quartet No. 6
Béla Bartók’s string quartets stand with those of Dmitri Shostakovich as the twentieth century’s most significant works in that genre. The sixth and final quartet, written in 1939 on the eve of World War II, was the last work Bartók wrote in his native Hungary before fleeing to the US. Its recurring Mesto theme (meaning sad or melancholy) represents the composer’s grief at the destruction of Europe and his forced flight from his homeland. The quartet’s musical language balances the composer’s two main compositional interests: eastern European folk music and complex, dissonant modernism.
Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Steve Reich helped to redefine music in the mid-twentieth century with his minimalist innovations. His 1988 work Different Trains, for string quartet and pre-recorded performance tape, contains Reich’s typical driving rhythms and highly repetitive structures. The impetus for the work was the Jewish American composer’s recollection of childhood cross-country train trips during World War II, and his later awareness that at the same time, trains were taking millions of Europeans to Nazi concentration camps. The piece includes pre-recorded samples of both train sounds and interviews with Holocaust survivors.