Spektral + Avalon: Mendelssohn Octet
At age 16, most of us were preoccupied with combatting acne or passing the driver's test. At 16, Felix Mendelssohn was busy writing one of classical music's most beloved chamber works, the Octet in E-flat major, Op. 20. On May 29th, The Spektral Quartet and Avalon Quartet make a long-awaited collaboration a reality, trading sets and then joining forces for this remarkable, sonic illustration of teenage genius.
Currently the ensemble-in-residence at Northern Illinois University, The Avalon Quartet arrives on Wednesday with Béla Bartók's contrapuntal masterpiece, the String Quartet No. 2. Written during the same period as his ballet, The Wooden Prince, the Second Quartet is brimming with provocative chromaticism and folk-inspired, madcap dances. In the deft hands of Avalon, audiences can expect to hear a kinetic rendering of Bartok's score at an exquisite level of detail.
As ensemble-in-residence at the University of Chicago, the Spektral Quartet continues to champion works by up-and-coming Chicago composers with the world premiere of Ben Hjertmann's String Quartet No. 2, "Étude". With prog-rock rhythmic complexity and metal-inspired shredding as its launch point, Étude places guitar picks in the hands of the players and demands ferocious virtuosity from all four instruments in each of the score's prodigious solos.
As the centerpiece of this dynamic musical alliance, Mendelssohn's Octet won't find a more exhilarating setting within the city limits than the exemplary acoustic of Roosevelt University's historic Ganz Hall. Stacked with sumptuous duets and a fugue that causes even seasoned musicians to curl a smile in admiration, this Octet collaboration is hopefully only the first of many future meetings between Spektral + Avalon.
Ganz Hall at Roosevelt University (View)
430 S. Michigan Ave, 7th floor
Chicago, IL 60605
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