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Pro Arte Quartet: The American Premieres - Piano quintets and string quartets by Mays, Schoenfield, Bolcom, Harbison / Brian Hsu, piano

Album Summary

>Mays, Walter : Quartet for Strings no 2 ("Dreaming Butterfly")
>Schoenfield, Paul : Rhapsodies (3), for piano quintet
>Bolcom, William : Piano Quintet no 2
>Harbison, John : Quartet for Strings no 5
Performers Ensemble Composers

Notes & Reviews:

To celebrate their 100th anniversary, the Pro Arte Quartet commissioned works from four distinguished American composers (Walter Mays, Paul Schoenfield, William Bolcom and John Harbison), which were given their world premiere performances in 2011-2012. The Pro Arte Quartet was founded in 1911-12 by teenage prodigies who were students at the Brussels Conservatory. Stranded in the USA in 1940 by the outbreak of World War II, the Quartet became established at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where they became the first professional string quartet in residence at an American university. In all, the Quartet has commissioned more than 100 new works so it was fitting that the centerpiece of their centennial celebration include commissions, performances and recordings of these new works.

American Record Guide, May/June 2014
Walter Mays's second quartet, 'Dreaming Butterfly', takes its cue from the Taoist philosopher Zuangzi's wellknown aphorism about a man who dreams he is a butterfly and, once awake, wonders if he might really be a butterfly dreaming he is a man. Paul Schoenfield's Three Rhapsodies for Piano Quintet is an eclectic romp built around three very different repertories: the rock song 'Get a Job', a Hungarian lass-friss, and Hasidic street music. William Bolcom's Second Piano Quintet strikes me as an altogether more significant work with finely wrought and worked out musical ideas and, overall, a more serious tone. Harbison's music always impresses me for its unerring sense of form and gesture, as well as an almost unmatched clarity in its presentation and development of post-tonal materials. This quartet belongs in the repertory of contemporary masterpieces, in the same company as Schoenberg, Berg, Bartok, Shostakovich, and Carter. The performances are expert, full-throated, and expressive.

Notes & Reviews:

Recording information: Mills Hall, University of Wisconsin-Madison (2011-12-21_2011-12-22&2012-).



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Works Details

>Mays, Walter : Quartet for Strings no 2 ("Dreaming Butterfly")
  • Ensemble: Pro Arte Quartet
  • Notes: Mills Hall, University of Wisconsin-Madison (12/21/2011-12/22/2011)
  • Running Time: 24 min. 46 sec.
  • Period Time: Contemporary

>Schoenfield, Paul : Rhapsodies (3), for piano quintet
  • Performer: Brian Hsu (Piano)
  • Notes: Mills Hall, University of Wisconsin-Madison (12/21/2011-12/22/2011)
  • Running Time: 28 min. 24 sec.
  • Period Time: Contemporary

>Bolcom, William : Piano Quintet no 2
  • Performer: Christopher Taylor (Piano)
  • Notes: Mills Hall, University of Wisconsin-Madison (05/25/2012-05/26/2012)
  • Running Time: 19 min. 24 sec.
  • Period Time: Contemporary
  • Form: Chamber Music

>Harbison, John : Quartet for Strings no 5
  • Notes: Mills Hall, University of Wisconsin-Madison (05/25/2012-05/26/2012)
  • Running Time: 21 min. 16 sec.
  • Period Time: Contemporary