April 4, 2008
Maia Quartet collaborates with pianist Tsachor for April 17 concert
The Maia Quartet from the University of Iowa School of Music will perform works by Mozart and Shostakovich and, with pianist Uriel Tsachor, Brahms' well-loved Piano Quintet in F minor, in a free concert at 8 p.m. Thursday, April 17, in Clapp Recital Hall on the UI campus.
The resident string quartet at the UI School of Music since 1998, the Maia Quartet presents in a series of chamber music concerts on campus each year. Its members -- violinists Tricia Park and Zoran Jakovcic, violist Elizabeth Oakes and cellist Hannah Holman -- are all members of the School of Music faculty, as is Tsachor.
"We are thrilled to end the program with UI piano faculty member Uriel Tsachor," Park said. "We are very happy to have this opportunity to collaborate with him in playing Brahms' great and dramatic piano quintet."
Before the Brahms, which will form the second half of the program, the Maia will play Mozart's String Quartet in G Major, K387, and Shostakovich's String Quartet No. 7 in F-sharp minor, op. 108.
The Quartet in G major is one of six Mozart wrote for and dedicated to his friend and mentor, Josef Haydn. Composed 1782 through 1785, when Mozart was at the height of his fame and creative abilities, the "Haydn" quartets, as the set is known, are among Mozart's greatest works. They were, he said, "the fruits of long and laborious endeavor."
Notable for their use of counterpoint and the equality of the four parts, the six quartets show that Mozart had carefully studied Haydn's string quartets, particularly those in the Op. 33 set that Haydn said were composed "in an entirely new manner." In this way, Mozart's works were both a gift and an homage to the older composer.
Shostakovich wrote 15 string quartets, all but one of them between the years of 1944, near the end of World War II, and 1974, the year before the composer's death. Like much of the music written in the last 30 years of Shostakovich's life, they are regarded as highly personal works, conforming outwardly to the expectations of the Soviet authorities but also containing deeply felt expressions of private feelings.
The Seventh Quartet was written in 1960, in memory of the composer's wife, who had died in 1954. It is the composer's shortest string quartet and has an underlying melancholy mood throughout. It is written in three movements, but their close thematic links create the impression of a single, varied movement.
One of Brahms' most familiar chamber works, the Piano Quintet in F minor, was first composed in 1862 as a string quintet. Unconvinced of its effectiveness, the composer destroyed that version and rewrote the pieces as a sonata for two pianos. He played the premiere of that version with pianist Carl Tausig in 1864, but Clara Schumann -- a close friend and musical confidant of the composer -- persuaded Brahms to make a third try. The third and final version, the Quintet for piano and string quartet, was published as op. 34 in 1865 and given its public premiere in 1868.
Founded in 1990, the Maia Quartet has established itself nationally with performances in major concert halls including Alice Tully Hall in New York, the Kennedy Center Terrace Theatre in Washington, D.C., and Harris Hall at the Aspen Music Festival. The quartet has gained wide recognition for its educational outreach activities and its members have shared their love of music with children under the auspices of Young Audiences, Inc., and the Midori Foundation. More information, including photos and bios of the individual members of the quartet, can be found at http://www.maiaquartet.com.
Uriel Tsachor joined the faculty of the UI School of Music in the fall of 1988. A Steinway artist, he was a winner of the Bosendorfer Empire International Competition in 1986 and the Busoni Competition in 1985, and a laureate of the Queen Elisabeth Piano Competition in 1983. Munich's Sueddeutsche Zeitung described him as "A musician who pursues piano playing as a vehicle for musical poetry." See http://www.uiowa.edu/~music/bios/PIANOtsachor.htm.
The School of Music is part of the Division of Performing Arts in the UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. Visit the UI School of Music Web site at http://www.uiowa.edu/~music/.
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