This program offers three different composers’ personal takes on “awareness.” Mozart was highly inspired by Joseph Haydn and dedicated a set of six string quartets to him. His K. 421 in D minor, the second of the set, celebrates Haydn’s established and cultivated style. As his only quartet in a minor key, this music is at once dramatic, bold, and introspective. Kevin Puts says of Dark Vigil that it “was a reaction to the unrelenting pattern of violence that plagued our country’s elementary and high schools during the year it was written, 1999. The title was inspired by news footage I saw of a high school in the Midwest whose students and faculty staged a student shooting incident as a means of preparation for such an event.” Rather than relaying a programmatic narrative, Dark Vigil contemplates the fragility of a mind in this troubling context. Sibelius’s Quartet Op. 56 in D minor is one of his mature works, displaying both the conviviality and intimacy of the string quartet as a genre. Though this quartet is subtitled “Voces Intimae” (Intimate Voices), Sibelius wasn’t fond of talking about the meaning behind his music. He said, “You know how the wing of a butterfly crumbles at a touch? So it is with my compositions; the very mention of them is fatal,” suggesting that his music should be experienced and not explained.
Works to be performed on the “Vigil” program include:
Mozart, String Quartet in D minor, K. 421
Kevin Puts, Dark Vigil
Sibelius, String Quartet in D minor, Op. 56 “Voces Intimae”