Ravel – string quartet 30’
Megh Malhar – by Egidija Madeksaite 10’
Songs for the M8 – by Anna Meredith 20’
The Frankland String Quartet was formed In 2017 by four of the North East’s leading chamber musicians: Sophie Appleton (violin), Sarah Roberts (violin), James Slater (viola), Daniel Hammersley (‘cello). Their Beethoven concerts last year were widely acclaimed and they performed Haydn and Beethoven on BBC Radio 3 as part of the ‘free thinking’ festival in 2018. They were also wired up and had their heart beats and pulses monitored as part of an international study connected to Durham University’s ‘Interpersonal Entrainment in music performance’. The findings were presented on BBC Radio 3’s Music Matters. Amongst their concerts they performed at Sage Gateshead and played Howard Skempton as part of the COMA festival trail of contemporary works around Ouseburn. The quartet is ‘Quartet in Residence’ at Durham University where they have a wide ranging role including giving regular concerts, workshops and coaching.
About the programme
Maurice Ravel was 27 years old when he began writing his one and only string quartet. Completed in 1903 and dedicated to his mentor Gabriel Faure, it also reflects Ravel’s admiration of Debussy, who’s own quartet had been written ten years earlier. But where Debussy explores in music the impressionistic techniques his contemporaries in the art world, Ravel turns to the balanced phrasing, distinct rhythms and clear structures of classicism for his inspiration.
Lithuanian composer Egidija Medekšaitė uses a raga from the Indian Classical tradition as the basis for her piece Megh Malhar, from which it also takes it’s name. Said to evoke the atmosphere of approaching rain, the raga subtly underpins this slowly modulating span of music in which Egidija employs changing combinations of trills and harmonics to weave an almost unbearably fragile fabric of sound.
Five short episodes make up Anna Meredith‘s homage to Scottish intercity road infrastructure. Often unexpectedly sparse textures make for an unsettling and claustrophobic atmosphere at times, contrasting with frenzied episodes of near chaos and a haunting viola solo at the heart of the piece. Two of these episodes were later used to underscore memorable scenes in Yorgos Lanthimos’ 2018 film The Favourite.
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