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Miró Quartet Kicks Off 40-Year Chamber Music Festival with Works Both Old and New

FESTIVAL CAMARA

By Mick Lockey

The Festival de Música de Cámara de San Miguel de Allende gets underway August 3 and 4. This chamber music celebration kicks off with the acclaimed Miró Quartet, who will perform a concert each night in the Teatro Ángela Peralta at 7pm. The Miró Quartet has performed in previous Festival seasons and returns to showcase some of the best of chamber music.

For its 40th anniversary, the festival is presenting a mini-series of Beethoven’s final three string quartets, along with the work of Joseph Haydn that inspired Beethoven to tackle the rigors of writing string quartets. Three of these works are presented in the Miró Quartet’s Friday and Saturday programs.

Friday night, the ensemble performs Beethoven’s final complete quartet, String Quartet No 16 in F major, Op 135; at the time of its composition, Beethoven was completely deaf and nearing the end of his life.

A highlight of Friday’s program is a performance of Kevin Puts’s “Credo,” which the Miró Quartet debuted and which the Chamber Music Monterey Bay in California commissioned. Puts’s absorbing 20-minute work gave me chills when I first heard it, beginning with its searing first section for violin, through its final succession of elegiac, singular notes, which brought tears to my eyes—it’s that beautiful. Puts has received a Pulitzer Prize for Music.
Also in Friday’s lineup is a Robert Schumann work, String Quartet No 1 in A minor, Op 41, No 1, which has been described as musical poetry. It is one of only three string quartets in the composer’s repertoire. Schumann composed his string quartets in a flurry of manic creativity, finishing them in less than a month’s time.

The August 4 concert offers another collection of sparkling gems from the chamber music treasure box: The Miró Quartet will show off their skill and musicianship with a quintessential string quartet, a work from Haydn. Music scholars have said this piece was the creative push for Beethoven’s exploration of—and eventual mastery of—the string quartet form.

Saturday is date night, and there’s something here for the romantics among us: five selections from Cypresses, a collection of tonal ¨love songs” originally composed by a then-infatuated Dvořák. These melodious “echoes of love” are based on a series of poems and inspired by Dvořák’s unrequited love. Prepare to be carried away in the musical throes of rapturous, idyllic love.

The Miró Quartet wraps up their stay with another of Beethoven’s last string quartets, the mystical and rapturous String Quartet No 15 in A minor, Op 132. Take special note of the third movement, which some have noted as this quartet’s emotional center. This wrestles and reconciles Beethoven’s feelings about his life-threatening illnesses. It’s sure to be stirring and moving.

Don’t miss the opening weekend of this wonderful music festival, featuring master musicians performing at the top of their craft.

For more information and to purchase tickets, visit FestivalSanMiquel.com. During the Festival’s opening weekend, balcony seats are available for 100 pesos.

 

Concert

The Festival de Música de Cámara de San Miguel de Allende presents

The Miró Quartet

Fri–Sat, Aug 3–4, 7pm

Teatro Ángela Peralta

Mesones 82, Centro

FestivalSanMiguel.com

100 pesos

 

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