DaPonte: Gesualdo to Crumb
The DaPonte String Quartet’s new season includes everything from Gesualdo’s 16th-century madrigals to George Crumb’s 20th-century masterpiece “Black Angels.” There will be four different concert series, each one performed at Thomaston’s Episcopal Church of St. John Baptist, Damariscotta’s Lincoln Theater, Portland Public Library and Topsham’s Mid-Coast Presbyterian Church.
The quartet performs more than 40 concerts a year and has a reputation for inventive programming. Its members like to embellish the classical repertoire with major contemporary works, often a cutting-edge new quartet (such as the one written for them recently by Pulitzer Prize-winning composer David Del Tredici). Doing complex new works has a price, though: serious rehearsal time. “Black Angels,” for example, requires substantial preparation due to its many unusual requirements of a tuned chorus of crystal wine glasses played with bows; guitar amps to electrify the quartet; gongs and maracas; and chanting in several foreign languages.
Strings Magazine recently remarked about the DaPonte Quartet that few groups would find themselves able to invest the hundreds of hours of preparation required for music of such complexity. Violist Kirsten Monke attributes this in part to living in Maine, where the group moved to from Philadelphia 22 years ago.
Series I, which will begin Oct. 24, is titled Entente Cordiale and features Beethoven’s String Quartet in D Major, Op. 18, No. 3; Prokofiev’s String Quartet No. 1 in B Minor, Op. 50; and William Walton’s 1947 String Quartet No. 2 in A.
Series 2, in December, is called Old World/New World and includes Shostakovich’s String Quartet No. 4 in D Major, Op. 83; Stravinsky’s Concertino for String Quartet; and Dvorak’s String Quartet in D Minor, Op. 34.
Series 3, Voices of Angels, will be performed in March and spans five centuries of music. Featured will be the 16th-century “Madrigals” by Carlo Gesualdo; an 18th-century quartet by Haydn; and Crumb’s 20th-century “Black Angels for Electric String Quartet: Thirteen Images from the Dark Land.”
Series 4, Vienna, Vienna, performed in May, will feature works by composers identified with Austria’s glittering capital: Mozart’s String Quartet in G Major, K. 287; Beethoven’s String Quartet in E-flat Major, Op. 74 "The Harp"; and Alban Berg’s String Quartet, Op. 3.
Outside these series, DaPonte also will perform in Paris Hill, Walpole and the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens, as well as Stonington and Biddeford next spring. Programming is subject to change. For more information on venues, season tickets and updates, visit DaPonte.org or call 529-4555.
Courier Publications’ A&E Editor Dagney C. Ernest can be reached at (207) 594-4401, ext. 115 or email@example.com.