“Syrinx” with Debussy’s “String Quartet”

This afternoon I attended a performance by the Aizuri Quartet at the Barnes Foundation in Philadelphia as part of the Curtis Institute of Music’s collaboration with the Barnes. The event was offered in tandem with a wonderful exhibition of the art of William Glackens, the American painter and friend of Albert Barnes who selected artworks in Europe for the collection. The quartet premiered a new work, Parallels, by my friend the composer Alyssa Weinberg, which was her reflection on the work of Glackens. In this evocative piece, the four strings were layered upon each other like brushstrokes of differing intensity, with striking lyrical passages emerging from abstract textures. Then the Aizuri gave a beautiful performance of Debussy’s String Quartet in G Minor, movements II and IV. Written in 1893, the modernity of this music is still striking today, and made a great pairing with Alyssa’s new piece as well as a fitting companion to the art of Glackens. Debussy’s quartet fills me with joy, but I so wanted to get into the act that I had to add my Syrinx, which you hear now with the Debussy quartet at the same time (Emerson Quartet recording).

 

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