SOUTH MOUNTAIN PREVIEW: Telegraph Quartet, Sunday, September 4, 3 p.m.


The Telegraph Quartet will perform at South Mountain on Sunday, September 4 at 3 p.m. Photo by Lisa-Marie Mazzucco.

Pittfield— If you’re the type to grumble because all the trademark string quartets ever played are mostly standard repertoire, then you need to hear the Telegraph Quartet. And you can do it, in person, when South Mountain concerts begin its 2022 season on Sunday September 4 at 3 p.m.

The Telegraph Quartet (Eric Chin and Joseph Maile, violins; Pei-Ling Lin, viola; Jeremiah Shaw, cello) formed around the idea that standard chamber music repertoire and non-standard contemporary works should be given equal attention. So when they perform in concert, they mix. Benjamin Britten could accompany any of the pieces they have created, such as Richard Festinger’s third string quartet (“Icarus in Flight”, a musical representation of climate change data from the year 1880 to projected simulations of 2080 ). Anton Webern could follow Robert Sirota’s String Quartet No. 3, “Wave Upon Wave” (from the group’s debut at Carnegie Hall in 2018).

In the fall of 2021, the Telegraph premiered a new work by the composer Robert Sirota and librettist Stevan Cavalier with soprano Abigail Fischer.

Admittedly, the group’s idea of ​​the standard repertoire leans a little towards the modern. In any case, the group has a reputation for being adventurous. Leon Kirchner is another of their favorites.

In fact, Kirchner is featured on the band’s debut album, “Into the Light,” which has received a lot of positive press since its 2018 release. For example, the San Francisco Chronicle wrote: “Only five years after its formation, the Bay Area Telegraph Quartet have established themselves as an ensemble of serious depth and versatility, and the group’s formidable debut recording only reinforces that judgment. ” The same article describes the group as “…an incredibly valuable addition to the cultural landscape”.

The quartet’s September 4 program brings together the music of pioneering black American composer Florence Price (“Five Folksongs in Counterpoint”) with the Polish composer and violinist (and Baker student) by Grażyna Bacewicz String Quartet No. 4, with by Arnold Schoenberg String Quartet No. 1 in D minor, a demanding piece, certainly, but not entirely atonal. (It contains discernible themes and keys and could be called keenly adventurous.)

South Mountain Concerts has presented chamber music concerts every fall since 1918. Here is a list of their 2022 season:

Sunday September 4
Telegraph String Quartet
Award – Five Counterpoint Folk Songs
Bacewicz – String Quartet No. 4
Schoenberg – String Quartet No. 1 in D minor, Op. seven

Sunday September 11
Calidore String Quartet
Mozart – String Quartet in B flat major, K. 458 (The Hunt)
Bartok – String Quartet No. 1, Op. seven
Brahms – String Quartet No. 3 in B flat major, Op. 67

Sunday September 18
Emerson String Quartet
Haydn – String Quartet in G major, Op. 33, No. 5
Ravel – String Quartet in F major
Beethoven – String Quartet in E minor, Op. 59, No. 2

Sunday October 2
Saint-Laurent String Quartet
Mozart – String Quartet in E flat major, K. 428
Korngold – String Quartet No. 3 in D major, Op. 34
Haydn – String Quartet in C major, Op. 76, No. 3 (The Emperor)

Sunday October 9
Wu Han, piano; David Finckel, cello; Philip Setzer, Arnaud Sussmann, violins; Matthew Lipman, viola
Beethoven – Piano Trio in G Major, Op. 1, No. 2
Suk – Piano Quartet in A minor, Op. 1
Dvorak – Piano Quintet No. 2 in A major, Op. 81

The South Mountain Concert Hall is perhaps the best place in the world to hear the Telegraph Quartet. It’s certainly a lot more convenient for the Berkshires than some of the venues the band frequents, like Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center or the Herbst Theater in San Francisco. Also, once you’ve done the walk through the woods and up the hill from the parking lot to Elizabeth Sprague Coolidge’s temple of chamber music, especially during the month of October, you are likely to make it an annual ritual. The place looks like a church, but it’s not.

Catch the Telegraph Quartet at South Mountain Concerts on Sunday, September 4 at 3 p.m. here.


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