On Wednesday, December 2 at 7:30 p.m. in Zankel Hall male vocal quartet the Hilliard Ensemble and the Arditti String Quartet will give the US premiere of Wolfgang Rihm’s ET LUX (co-comissioned by Carnegie Hall.) This performance marks the Carnegie Hall debut for the Hilliard Ensemble and the second performance by the Arditti Quartet, who made their Carnegie Hall debut in Zankel Hall in December 2004.

About ET LUX
Set for four male voices and string quartet, ET LUX contains selections of text from the traditional setting of the requiem mass with the phrase Et Lux perpetua luceat eis (and let light shine perpetually upon them) recurring throughout. The music itself contains references to polyphonic chants as well as canons that reference those typical in Renaissance chant. Overall, the work maintains a hushed quiet. Aside from a few outbursts, the work is marked almost entirely piano and pianissimo.

In the composer’s words:

“In this work, text fragments from the Roman requiem liturgy can be heard, however not “intact” and not in the correct liturgical order. They appear more as components reminiscent of a progressively realized whole. Great significance is displayed by the reappearance of specific groups of words for example, in the middle of the work: et lux perpetua luceat. Through circling reflection, the comforting yet deeply disturbing meaning of these words might just become perceptible.”

About the Artists
Celebrated for his ability to create music with both incredible craftsmanship and passion, Wolfgang Rihm is a prolific composer, having written music for everything from orchestral to vocal, operatic to concert works. Regarded as one of the key figures of “New Simplicity,” his style of deeply emotional and personal music was regarded as a reaction against the avant-garde of Europe when his first works first appeared. His new piece for the Arditti Quartet and the Hilliard Ensemble, ET LUX, is certainly no exception. With its texts taken form parts of the requiem mass, it is a heartfelt expression of loss and the hope for reconciliation.

The Hilliard Ensemble, founded in 1974 and named after the British miniaturist painter Nicholas Hilliard, is one of the world’s finest vocal chamber ensembles. It is unrivalled for its formidable reputation in the fields of both old and new music. Its distinctive style and highly developed musicianship engage the listener as much in medieval and renaissance repertoire as in works specially written for the group by living composers.

The Arditti Quartet enjoys a worldwide reputation for its spirited and technically refined interpretations of contemporary and early-20th century music. Several hundred string quartets and other chamber works have been written for the ensemble since its foundation by first violinist Irvine Arditti in 1974. World premieres include works by Thomas Adès, Louis Andriessen, Benjamin Britten, John Cage, Elliott Carter, Sofia Gubaidulina, György Kurtág, György Ligeti, Karlheinz Stockhausen, and Iannis Xenakis, among others.

Tickets, priced at $37 and $47 are available at www.carnegiehall.org or by calling CarnegieCharge at 212-247-7800.

Photos by Friedrun Reinhold and Philippe Gontie

Photos by Friedrun Reinhold and Philippe Gontie

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