More Than Just Gut Strings

By Erik Petersons on April 5, 2012
Quatuor Mosaiques

Presenting the Quatuor Mosaïques is not just a treat because of their status as one of the principal string quartets performing today.  They hold a unique place among their colleagues as one of the few ensembles to play on period instruments and focus on music during the Classical Period (1750-1830).  But few know the full implications of making the decision to leave 21st century traditions and strive for period performance practice.  It goes way beyond the fact that they use period instruments and gut strings.

After switching their strings, the quartet has developed a distinctive sound through their tuning (a little lower than we’re used to), pitch selection (altering the spacing of their intervals to produce new sound colors), and the technique they employ as they interpret the music.  These changes, aside from trying to be more authentic to the time in which a work was composed, create a new experience for the listener.  You may hear more colorful shapes nuanced textures, or leave with a fresh understanding of a movement.  Either way, it is worth hearing a familiar piece in a new light.

The second piece in their performance next Tuesday at the Perelman Theater is Mozart’s well-known Quartet in B-flat Major, K. 458 — subtitled the “Hunt.”  To give you an idea of what you’re in for, listen to the two following renditions of the last movement, first by the Franz Schubert Quartet of Vienna and the second by the Quatuor Mosaïques.  Of course, you won’t be able to experience all the subtle variances through a recording alone.  That’s why live music still sells…and in the case of this quartet, sells out!

To learn more, make sure to catch the pre-concert lecture by Steven Kreinberg at 6:45pm.