The Afiara String Quartet Sets the Stage Alight
By Mittie Roger
After sold-out concerts for Pro Musica last season, the Afiara String Quartet will bring their world-renowned passion and enthusiasm to the stage for two concerts. This exuberant and precise quartet, described as giving “performances of startling intensity” by San Francisco Classical Voice, is sure to delight, playing works by composers such as Mozart, Mendelssohn, Webern, Hayden, and Beethoven.
Pro Musica Concert Series
Afiara String Quartet
Sat and Sun, Dec 6 and 7, 5pm
St. Paul’s Church
The concert on Saturday will start with Mozart’s String Quartet in E Major composed in 1783, the third of his six Haydn quartets composed in honor of his friend Joseph Haydn. This quartet is characterized by surprising re-entries to the opening, just as the piece seems to come to an end. Mendelssohn’s String Quartet in A Minor, composed when he was only 18, will also be featured. A mature artist, Mendelssohn had already written the famous overture to a Mid-Summer’s Night Dream when he composed this quartet. Beethoven’s influence is ever-present in this evocative exploration of love.
On Sunday, Afiara will be playing Haydn’s String Quartet in C Major, Opus 50, of which there are also six. Known as the Prussian Quartets, they were dedicated to Friedrich Wilhelm II, King of Prussia. Intricate and complicated violin parts distinguish this composition, as well as a focus on musical balance over symmetry, resulting in an odd number of musical phrases. While Beethoven is often credited with the innovation of understanding the quartets as a single instrument, it was really his teacher Haydn who first explored these ideas.
The Afiara String Quartet will play Beethoven’s String Quartet in E Minor, Opus 59, also known as the Razumovsky Quartets. Count Razumovsky, Russian ambassador to the Congress of Vienna and Beethoven’s patron, commissioned the piece and asked that the composition employ an element of Russian folk music.
Passionate about creating and performing new works, the Afiara Quartet has both commissioned and premiered works by Christos Hatzis, Uri Caine, Kelly-Marie Murphy, Dan Becker, Brett Abigana, Patrick Carrabre, and others. They’ll demonstrate this devotion, performing the Third String Quartet by Hatzis on Saturday, commissioned with a grant from the Ontario Arts Council in 2013. The quartet elucidates the composer’s emotional journey through the questions of religion, faith, and atheism.
The concerts will be Saturday and Sunday, December 6 and 7, at 5pm, at St. Paul’s Church on Cardo 6. Tickets for the concerts at St. Paul’s are 120/250/350 pesos donation each, and are on sale at La Tienda in La Biblioteca; La Conexión (only at Aldama 3 and Libramiento a Dolores 105), and at the concert half an hour before performance time. Details of all Pro Musica’s concerts and Patron Membership are on our web site, www.promusicasma.com. Or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.