excerpt from 'Visiting Ireland: West Cork Chamber Music Festival, Bantry, June 2001' pp. 101 (247 words)

excerpt from 'Visiting Ireland: West Cork Chamber Music Festival, Bantry, June 2001' pp. 101 (247 words)

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Visiting Ireland: West Cork Chamber Music Festival, Bantry, June 2001

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urn:iso:std:iso:639:ed-3:eng

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101

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After this, we go down with viola player James Boyd to Vickery's Inn in Bantry where a grand piano has been stationed in the back bar during the festival. We spend the evening rehearsing the new piano quartet by Latvian composer Peteris Vasks which has been commissioned for us by the festival. The new quartet is unusually long, has six movements, and is a crazy mixture of Baltic dance music with strong manic and mechanistic components, alternating with movement of deep religious fervour, in rapt contemplation and very slow.

The notation and structure are a lot easier than the other new works we've learned recently - just as well, as we have only a few days to rehearse it before the world premiere, on radio, on Saturday. Yet it has plenty of its own difficulties. The composer doesn't exactly provide us with the substance to fill the long, slow movements, though somehow it's clear that he means them to have a devotional atmosphere. We have to find a sound which sustains the slow tempo without sounding thin, a sound which carries the right kind of meditative force without recourse to cheap vibrato and other technical effects.

There's a hilarious moment when, after playing the long slow movement with intense involvement, we come to a stop with pulses racing and perspiration flowing. There's a short silence, and then Anthony says '... Cigarette, anyone?' None of us smokes, so we all collapse with merriment at his implied comparison.

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excerpt from 'Visiting Ireland: West Cork Chamber Music Festival, Bantry, June 2001' pp. 101 (247 words)

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