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Dancing on the Edge of Tonality – Lyric Say

The Grammy-nominated JACK Quartet carried out six virtuosic  works―4 by residing composers, two of whom had been in attendance Sunday afternoon—at a sold-out Calderwood Corridor. The ISGM live performance danced on the sting of conventional Western tonality, with items that blurred the microtones and meters to gorgeous impact.

Cellist, Jay Campbell remarked that microtonal music “starts to get nauseating—which we like,” eliciting laughter. However when the JACK Quartet performs with this a lot enthusiasm and vigor, a panoramic, nauseous pleasure stands out as the solely possibility for the viewers too.  

A world premiere composition, deepening paths of resonant gentle, by Jeffrey Mumford switched between plucked notes and sustained, broad phrases, with these actions always interrupting one another. The quartet created an off-kilter shimmering sound–chords glistening briefly earlier than fraying into thrilling staccato, plucked sections, and wide-ranging runs. Chords, with various ranges of conventional Western tonality, glistened briefly earlier than fraying into thrilling staccato, plucked sections, and wide-ranging runs. The paths ended with a plucked staccato on the cello and a held, bowed word on the viola; the 2 motifs of plucking and bowing lastly united. The ensemble gave the work a vigorous purposefulness—each fray and unison sounding completely deliberate.

After Miserere by the ensemble’s violinist Christopher Otto, JACK turned to John Zorn’s 2004 Necronomicon with a frantic sizzle. Repeated struck chords seemed like its title Necronomicon, a “book of black magic” over its brisk, fiery first and fifth actions and a pensive, quiet second and fourth. Whereas different teams may need provided a sluggish, lilting, and monotonous piano motion, the JACKs rendered it with breathtaking dynamics; their slight crescendo from a pianississimo to pianissimo proved extra thrilling than many ensembles’ fortes.

The ensemble retook the stage with a shock—the 16th-century madrigal, Musica prisca caput, by Nicola Vicentino. The Vicentino reaffirmed the JACK’s means to execute interval music with the identical excellence as modern examples. Although the promotion for this live performance appeared to minimize custom, it nonetheless implied “… how vital the string quartet remains some 275 years after Haydn defined the genre.” The ensemble’s tackle the madrigal evidenced a capability breathe life into works from any century.

Tangled Madrigal by Amy Williams, picked up motifs from Vicentino, remodeling them right into a complementary modern texture.

Jack Quartet (Henrik Olund photograph)

Iannis Xenakis’s Tetras, showcased the JACK’s accuracy of pitch and ensemble precision. Tetras requires the ensemble to play above and under the bridge, on the fingerboard, and on the picket sides of the devices, pushing the boundaries of propriety for the style, begging the query as as to if there’s a “right” strategy to play the violin or if any non-standard a part of the instrument will be sounded with musical outcomes. The strokes that got here from under the bridge, sounding like radio static, eliciting chuckles. Because the work furled its banner over the subsequent quarter-hour, nevertheless, the laughter ceased, as amazed smiles saluted the polyphonies and unique sounds.

In his pre-concert remarks, the Gardner’s Curator of Music, George Metal, described Iannis Xenakis as “one whose innovations we still have to assimilate.” With its depth of engagement and intentionality, the JACK Quartet breathed new life into each the normal and the modern.

Jared Hackworth is an English graduate scholar at Boston Faculty and a proud choral musician within the Again Bay Chorale. He research the interconnections between cities, the humanities, and humanities, and works with The College of The New York Instances.

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