The opening concert in this year’s North Cork Classical Music (NCCM) series is on Sunday afternoon, July 7 and the venue is Saint George’s Arts & Heritage Centre, Mitchelstown.
It’s the turn of The Vanir String Quartet to do the honours on this occasion with the music of Shostakovich and Brahms.
The quartet is coached by members of the Vanbrugh Quartet, Simon Aspell and Christopher Marwood who previously performed in St George’s Church on the invitation of NCCM.
The Vanir Quartet gave their debut concert at Triskel Christchurch in May and will take part in the Young Musicians programme at this year’s West Cork Chamber Music Festival.
The quartet features Molly O’Shea on violin, Caoimhe Browne on violin, Cian McGarry on viola and Zoë Nagle on cello.
A pianist, Shostakovich (1906 – 1975) was regarded as one of the major composers of the 20th century while Brahms (1833 –1897) also a pianist, was a conductor of the Romantic period.
Shostakovich wrote two chamber works during the Second World War, both composed at the retreat the Soviet Union maintained for its composers in the forest of Ivanovo, north of Moscow.
The Piano Trio No. 2 and the String Quartet No. 2 were composed during the summer of 1944 as advancing Soviet soldiers began to discover the atrocities that had been committed against Russian Jews by the Nazis.
The quartet which the Vanir will present, is infused with Jewish melodies and with the Klezmer music that would accompany the joyful rituals of a traditional Russian wedding party, but the darkness of the war is never far away.
Proud, defiant, tender and life affirming, Brahms’ A minor quartet is the most popular and accessible of his three string quartets and one of the pinnacles of the string quartet repertoire.
As he emerged with his own distinctive voice from the long shadow of Beethoven, he brought his own philosophy to his quartet writing: “A musician is no machine,” Brahms once told a musical friend, “He is a human being; he must always have something to say. Whoever has the dissonant note must also have its resolution.”
To follow each player’s part within the extraordinarily detailed textures of this quartet is to discover that Brahms practised what he preached, and to understand why musicians so love to perform his chamber works.
The concert on July 7, of which part proceeds will go to the St George’s renovation fund, is brought to us as part of this year’s North Cork Classical Music programme, with the help of Cork County Council.
Tickets (€15) and are now on sale at The Avondhu office, from committee members and other outlets or by calling 025-32227, 025-24451 or 087-6492514.