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Florence Price (1887–1953)Drink to Me with Thine Own Eyes from Five Folksongs for String Quartet
Thomas Adès (b. 1971)Arcadiana
I. Venezia notturno
II. Das klinget so herrlich, das klinget so schön
III. Auf dem Wasser zu singen
IV. Et… (tango mortale)
VI. O Albion
Ludwig van Beethoven (1770–1827)String Quartet in A Minor, Op. 132 (excerpt)
Vijay Iyer (b. 1971)Mozart Effects
Daniel Chong, violin
Ken Hamao, violin
Jessica Bodner, viola
Kee-Hyun Kim, cello
Based in Boston, the Grammy-Award winning Parker Quartet has been the recipient of numerous honors and awards. The members hold graduate degrees in performance and chamber music from the New England Conservatory of Music and the Juilliard School, and the Quartet was part of the New England Conservatory’s prestigious Professional String Quartet Training Program from 2006–2008.
Renowned for its dynamic interpretations and polished, expansive colors, the group is one of the preeminent ensembles of our time, dedicated purely to the sound and depth of their music. The Quartet has appeared at the world’s most important venues and is on the faculty of Harvard University’s Department of Music as Blodgett Artists-in-Residence.
Florence Beatrice Price was an American classical composer, pianist, organist and music teacher. Price is noted as the first African-American woman to be recognized as a symphonic composer, and the first to have a composition played by a major orchestra.
Thomas Adès CBE is a British composer, pianist and conductor. Five compositions by Adès received votes in the 2017 Classic Voice poll of the greatest works of art music since 2000
Vijay Iyer is an American composer, pianist, bandleader, producer, and writer based in New York City. The New York Times called him a “social conscience, multimedia collaborator, system builder, rhapsodist, historical thinker and multicultural gateway.”
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IN 2011, VIJAY IYER was commissioned by the Brentano String Quartet to finish a composition that Mozart left incomplete. The first 1’20” is the unfinished fragment, and the rest is Mr. Iyer’s “response.” Mozart Effects was first performed by the Brentano String Quartet at a concert presented by Chamber Music Northwest in Portland. Mr. Iyer writes about the work:
“In 1993, a short research article was published in Nature claiming that listening to Mozart could induce a short-term IQ boost in the area of ‘spatial task performance.’ The control conditions in the experiment were ‘relaxation’ and ‘silence,’ not ‘Brahms’ or ‘Ellington,’ so there was nothing in the study to show that this effect was unique to Mozart. (On the other hand, for all they knew, the effect could have been wholly specific to the Sonata for Two Pianos in D Major, K. 448, the only piece used in the study.)
“Nonetheless, sensationalized news about ‘the Mozart effect’ touched off a nationwide Mozart frenzy. Something about that brazenly Eurocentric claim ‘Mozart makes you smarter’ seemed to offer a quick fix for everything wrong in America. Adding to the furor, the governor of Georgia at the time decreed that every baby born in the state would receive a Mozart CD upon leaving the hospital. The self-help industry had a field day: You too can touch the untouchable genius of a great master! Unlock your true potential while you sleep! It was good old-fashioned snake oil—let’s call it Wolfgang’s revenge.
“Finally, in 2007 a Requiem for the Mozart effect arrived, in the form of a thorough scientific review published by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research in Germany. The conclusion: if we experience any cognitive boost at all from passive listening, it is very brief, very small, and equal for all types of music. But null results are never newsworthy, so word didn’t quite get around; the story was buried in a pauper’s grave. Few have been disabused of the idea of the Mozart effect today, and those who have still wish it to be true anyway.
“For a composer, to be tasked with ‘finishing’ an unfinished piece by Mozart is to serve as the punchline to a joke. There was no one I told about this commission who didn’t burst out laughing. Perhaps we are all Salieri, still haunted by those infernal cackles—Wolfgang’s revenge, yet again.
“I thank the Brentano String Quartet for this opportunity, inherent comedy and all.”