Finger on the Pulse (UChicago)

  • Fulton Recital Hall 1010 East 59th Street Chicago, IL, 60637 United States

Pizzicato, both elegant and brutal, is at the center of this one. Arguably the first “extended-technique” in music for bowed string instruments of the classical era, pizzicato highlights mood and rhythm, expands available colors in an artist’s palette, and is capable of bringing both dance-like lightness and explosive power to a composition.

In a season brimming with new work, we’re eager to present two of the cornerstones of the string quartet repertoire, with Beethoven’s inviting Quartet No. 10, Op. 74 “Harp” and Ravel’s euphoric String Quartet. The pizzicato passages that mark the second movement of the latter are a nod to both Javanese gamelan orchestration and fandango rhythms, and the nickname of the former speaks for itself.

For this century’s entry, we turn to a piece we recorded on our first album by Ben Hjertmann. Ben will tell you that he penned his String Quartet No. 2, Étude at the zenith of a self-imposed caffeine binge, and when you see us assaulting our instruments with guitar picks, you’ll see where that took him.

Ravel - String Quartet in F major
Beethoven - String Quartet No. 10, Op. 74 "Harp"
Ben Hjertmann - String Quartet No. 2 Étude