Boccherini and a World Premiere at the Arnhold Recital

Monday, Apr 29, 2019
Juilliard Journal
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The Argus Quartet
The Argus Quartet—Issokson, Kim, Whang and Kelly—giving the 2018 Lisa Arnhold Memorial Recital

Bringing its residency to a close, the Argus is joined by cellist Astrid Schween for this year's Arnhold Recital

The Argus Quartet—violinists Clara Kim and Jason Issokson, violist Dana Kelley, and cellist Joann Whang—winds up its two-year residency at Juilliard on May 6 when it gives the annual Lisa Arnhold Memorial Recital. The quartet has programmed a mix of works that “pine for … a sense of closure, while simultaneously admitting that such a pursuit is futile or at least perplexed,” Gavin Plumley writes in the program note for the concert. “In Christopher Cerrone’s Can’t and Won’t (2017), the specter of a piece not quite written, a song cycle, breathes wordlessly through the score, as the strings seek ‘a place of composure’.”

The concert is also the occasion for the world premiere of Katherine Balch’s drip music, which was commissioned for the Argus by the Concert Artists Guild. The piece, Plumley writes, alludes to a poem by E.E. Cummings that “typical of the writer’s illusory style [suggests] both rootlessness and longing, a sense of push and pull.”

The program also includes a quintet by Boccherini (D Major, Op, 40, No. 2, G. 341, Del Fandango)—with guest cellist Astrid Schween (Pre-College ’80; BM ’84, MM ’85) of the Juilliard String Quartet—and Debussy’s G Minor Quartet as well as Tan Dun’s Eight Colors (1986–88), which, the contemporary Chinese composer writes, “marks the first contact in my music between folk materials and the concentrated, lyrical language of atonality [and draws] on Chinese colors and the techniques of Peking Opera.”