Serious Business unpacks the theme of humor in classical music through the lens of three works composed for Spektral by inventive young composers, and one entry from 1781. The quartet takes listeners on a wild ride through a bevy of colorful musical ideas, full of virtuosity and energy.
Sky Macklay’s Many Many Cadences sends the quartet plummeting from the upper reaches of their instruments, cycling at cutthroat speeds, before warping into a fevered variant of the tonal cadences at its opening. Equal parts punk rock and classical virtuosity, David Reminick’s The Ancestral Mousetrap requires the quartet to sing the macabre and absure poetry of Russell Edson while traversing bristling counterpoint. Chris Fisher-Lochhead’s Hack takes detailed transcriptions of bits from famous stand-up comedians as its point of departure. Finally, Spektral has yet to experience a performance of Josef Haydn’s “The Joke” in which the audience doesn’t laugh out loud at the piece’s fake-out conclusion.