Featuring the World Premiere of George Tsontakis’ String Quartet No. 6
Inspired by Schubert’sString Quartet No.15 in G Major
and Webern’s Langsamersatz and Five Movements for String Quartet
“artistry of uncommon insight & cohesion” – Gramophone
2014 marks the 15th Anniversary of the Cypress String Quartet (“artistry of uncommon insight and cohesion,” Gramophone) presenting Call & Response in the SF Bay Area — 15 years of expanding the chamber music repertoire and inspiring the imaginations of audiences young and old. This year’s Call & Response features the world premiere of award-winning composer George Tsontakis’ String Quartet No. 6, performed alongside the works that inspired it: Schubert’s seminal String Quartet No.15 in G Major and two masterpieces by Webern, his ultra-romantic Langsamersatzand the contrasting Five Movements for String Quartet. A pre-concert talk with George Tsontakis will begin at 7:15pm.
This is the second time George Tsontakis has been commissioned by the Cypress Quartet through the ensemble’s Call & Response program. Tsontakis wrote hisString Quartet No. 5 for the group in 2005, in response to Beethoven’s Late Quartets. It was the first quartet Tsontakis had composed in 20 years, and is written in memory of composer George Rochberg, who died in 2005.
Of his String Quartet No. 6, Tsontakis says, “Even though my sixth quartet was composed seven years after my fifth, can I help but make a degree of my response a reaction to the call of my own fifth quartet? My sixth mirrors my fifth in many ways, but at the same time progresses from it. Most notably, the sixth has truly fast music. In the second part of the sixth, “Blaze,” the gently flowing sixteenth-note patterns of a major second of the fifth quartet now become the driving force of the tautly-wound texture – a relentless scherzo of sorts but always liquid and flowing, as in the treatment in the fifth.”
Through its signature Call & Response program the Cypress Quartet commissions and premieres new string quartets from both emerging and celebrated composers, asking them to write in response to established chamber repertoire. Call & Response creates a dynamic dialogue between the past and present, between performers and composers, and among audiences of all ages. The Cypress Quartet’s annual Call & Response concert has earned a strong West Coast following; the major concert is preceded by performances throughout the Bay Area in community centers, unorthodox spaces, and schools. Since its inception in 2000, Call & Response has reached more than 25,000 Bay Area residents.
As Tsontakis puts it, “The Cypress’ tenacious support of and interest in procuring living music – in the form of living composers – keeps the continued line of concert music both vital and consequential.”
This year, the Cypress will give free, preview performances for the Bay Area community at the Berkeley Public Library on February 27 at 12pm and at the San Francisco Community Music Center on March 1 at 11am. For details visitwww.cypressquartet.com/special-projects/call-response