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Ensemble

IN MEMORY

KEITH BRAMICH reports on a McCabe première,
given as part of Japan 2001

 

At London's Wigmore Hall on 12 September 2001, the Rubio Quartet from Belgium, making their London début, joined forces with Japanese pianist Yoshiko Endo to give the world première of a specially commissioned work -- The Woman by the Sea -- by British composer John McCabe (born 1939).

The evening began with a simple announcement from violinist Dirk Van de Velde and a short silence to honour the thousands killed in the previous day's atrocities in the USA. The Quartet then played Shostakovich's Quartet No 4 in D Op 83 (1949), and it was all too easy to associate the previous day's terrorism with the angst at the start of Shostakovich's initial allegretto -- the idea having been placed in our minds. The tension gradually eased (thank goodness), reaching calm by the movement's end. A gentle and lyrical andantino in triple time with a lilting rhythm and an emotional central section ended intimately, in stillness.

During the two remaining movements, both marked allegretto, Shostakovich let his hair down, and we heard various dances, with a strong Jewish influence, and -- one of those Shostakovich hallmarks -- a theme very similar to that used in the first movement of the second piano concerto, always reminding me of the song 'what shall we do with the drunken sailor?'. What interesting places we're taken to by Shostakovich's imagination ...

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Copyright © 13 September 2001 Keith Bramich, London, UK

 

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PETER MALLETT'S ARTSPACE WEBSITE

JOHN McCABE'S WEBSITE

THE JAPAN 2001 WEBSITE

PETER MALLETT ON THE RUBIO STRING QUARTET

 

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