Raman Ramakrishnan (Daedalus Quartet) responds to questions: Why this repertoire? Why now?

By pcurchack on February 11, 2011

Continuing our exploration of why performers select the repertoire they do, Raman Ramakrishnan, cellist of the Daedalus Quartet, responded to our questions:

The Daedalus Quartet (Raman Ramakrishnan on far right)

PCMS: Why did you choose this particular repertoire for your concert?  Why perform these pieces at this time?

Ramakrishnan: In planning our program for February 18th, we began with a desire to showcase Richard Wernick's String Quartet No. 8, which was written for us, in its Philadelphia premiere. Then PCMS asked us if we would like to collaborate with the clarinetist Alexander Fiterstein on Mozart's clarinet quintet.  We always love making music with Alex.  To round out the program, we decided to include Mozart's last string quartet, K. 590, sandwiching Wernick's new quartet between two of Mozart's gems.

Mr. Wernick's quartet has moments of levity (its third movement is a puckish "variation on a variation" on Diabelli's famous theme), but it is a deeply personal and painfully beautiful piece.  In this way, it is not so different from Mozart's late works, which often seem as if they are smiling through tears.  It is our hope that the juxtaposition of the two composers, a master from the past and a living legend, will serve them both well.

Editor's note: You can find a longer interview with Min-Young Kim at ___________ [need the link].  In it she discusses the Wernick 8th String Quartet.