Krzysztof Chorzelski (Belcea Quartet) speaks about Turnage premiere

By pcurchack on March 2, 2011

Continuing our tradition of bringing premieres of new works to Philadelphia, on Wednesday, March 30 the Belcea Quartet will be offering the Philadelphia premiere of Mark-Anthony Turnage's Twisted Blues with Twisted Ballad. Earlier this season, I spoke with the Quartet's violist, Krzysztof Chorzelski, about the piece:

KC:  "We have been very interested in Mark-Anthony Turnage's music for a long time. His intricate style and the very original blend of different musical languages in his works have been very appealing to us. We have known Mark for some time, and a few years ago at a very informal get-together we plucked up courage to ask him whether he would consider writing us a piece. He responded with enthusiasm but also with caution, as he said that he could not commit to anything anytime soon. Knowing how much in demand Mark is, we treated this project as a fairly distant dream."

"A few months later, a friend of ours alerted us to an interview with Mark in one of the British national papers in which he spoke passionately about his recent musical fascination. According to the interview, hearing a London concert of the rock group Led Zeppelin inspired Mark to write a string quartet for the Belceas. And so,  this is how the quartet came in to existence. Both the timing and the content of the piece came as a complete surprise to us -- but it was a surprise we relished."

"The quartet received its World Premiere at London's Wigmore Hall in December 2010, and we are very happy that the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society was interested in us programming it on our upcoming return visit only a few months after its premiere. The quartet is cast in three movements.  The opening "Twisted Blues" is what the composer describes himself as "Variants on Led Zeppelin's 'Dazed and Confused'" and is relentless, hard-edged and very rich in sonority.  The second movement entitled "Funeral Blues" is much calmer in its mood and pace, while its texture is a lot more sparse.  The final movement, "Twisted Ballad," is sub-titled "Reflections on Led Zeppelin's 'Stairway to Heaven'".  The theme of the famous rock ballad is easily discernible, and the sonority of this music transcends the unplugged nature of a string quartet. It is a fantastic play, which, we hope will be equally enjoyed by our Philadelphia audience."