O Magnum Mysterium (1572) – Tomás Luis de Victoria
String Quartet No. 13 in A minor, D. 804, "Rosamunde" (1824) – Franz Schubert
Enigma (2019) – Anna Thorvaldsdottir & Sigurdur Gudjonsson (video artist)
We chose this collection of quartets for you because we have the sneaking suspicion that few among us feel we have enough space to contemplate the mystifying or miraculous in our lives – the questions for which Google returns with a sheepish: “404 Page Not Found.” That is to say, you may very well be entertained, but this program is aiming a bit more aerial. Not only is it a cache of four composers whose writing we believe to be exceptional, these are four potential conduits to the corners of one’s skull where magic and invention and curiosity reside. This program evolved out of the cryptic question Beethoven posits on the score to his final work, the String Quartet in F Major, Op. 135: “Must it be?” This in turn begs the question, What is it?
If this is starting to sound a bit cult-y or high-minded, rest assured that the only point that really matters is the space created for you to slip inward or surge outward…and perhaps the realization that these experiences are really one in the same. This music is not here to tell you a story, though a narrative may flicker to life in your mind (and we’d love to hear about it after the performance). It’s not simply here to help you escape everyday life, though you may find that your synapses are flinging you far beyond this concert hall (and please share these excursions with us, too!).
This is music for the big questions, without the promise of definitive answers. Taking the time to ask them – with the expedient of this astonishing music – is all that is required.