String Quartet 1999
by Muir String Quartet on April 4, 2001
Composer Joelle Wallach was raised in New York City and Morocco. In 1984 the Manhattan School of Music, where she studied with John Corigliano, granted her its first doctorate in composition. Since 1980, when her choral work “On the Beach Alone at Night” won first prize in the Inter-American Music Awards, Wallach has regularly placed first in prestigious international music competitions. Her String Quartet 1995 was the American Composers Alliance nominee for the 1997 Pulitzer Prize in Music. The New York Philharmonic Ensembles premiered her octet, “From the Forest of Chimneys,” written to celebrate their 10th anniversary, and the New York Choral Society commissioned her secular oratorio, “Toward a time of Renewal” (for 200 voices and orchestra), to commemorate their 35th season in Carnegie Hall. Wallach’s ballet “Glancing Below,” a 1999 Juilliard Dance Theater showcase production originally commissioned by the Carlisle Project, was premiered in Philadelphia during the summer of 1994. It entered the repertory of the Hartford Ballet in February 1995 and received its New York City premiere that June.
The composer writes: “During the course of its two movements, between its opening elegiac duet and the four players’ communal closing, the String Quartet 1999 unveils a vivid inner universe. Its epigram, taken from a poem by Delmore Schwarz, ‘In the slightest ripple, the mind perceives the heart,’ suggests the nature of the music’s emotional progress: beneath soaring melodies, tiny rivulets of melodic material merge and gather, forming ever new, rushing rivers of personal passion. A poignant tenderness gives way to agitation, terror, yearning, hope and transcendence. Twice, a brave, heavy-footed little dance prickly with the bravura slapstick of responsive, swooping portamenti interrupts; and twice it is subsumed into the work’s overarching, darker texture.”
Sponsored by: Linda Friedman, Samuel and Jonathan Friedman, and Davina Friedman Doby, in memory of Lawrence Friedman