Founded in 1989 by four students at the Lübeck Musikhochschule, the Artemis Quartet followed the classes of Walter Levin (first violin of the LaSalle Quartet) and of the Alban Berg Quartet before they won first prize at the 1995 Deutscher Musikwettbewerb competition, 1996 ARD competition, and 1997 Paolo Borciani competition.
This concert's programme features works by Mendelssohn and Schubert as well as Fuga del Angel, a work putting together Piazzolla's Suite del Angel and excerpts from Bach's Well-Tempered Clavier and The Art of Fugue (read a note by Eckart Runge below).
A few notes about Fuga del Angel
By Eckart Runge
So we decided to venture an unusual juxtaposition by putting together Piazzolla's 'Suite del Angel' with pieces from the 'Well-‐tempered Clavier' as well as 'The Art of the Fugue.' What seems at first like a great contradiction actually contains unforeseen connections and allows each piece to emerge in a new light.
As a young man, Piazzolla was already one of the best-‐known tango musicians in his country, when he began to nurture the desire to become a classical composer. He studied composition at the conservatory in Buenos Aires with his renowned compatriot Alberto Ginastero. The latter introduced his student to J.S. Bach, whose contrapuntal style fascinated Piazzolla. He saw that this technique of allowing multiple voices to move along on an equal footing next to one another (in contrast to a melody accompanied by chords) intensified the concentration of expression, analogous to the dance of tango in which two partners interact. Along with harmonic influences from jazz and the rhythmic esprit of tango, the compositional technique of counterpoint became an essential stylistic element of the musical language Piazzolla created in 'Tango Nuevo.'
Three centuries earlier, Bach, on the other hand, brought about not only the blossoming of a strict form of counterpoint. He was influenced across the breadth of his work by popular musical forms as well, particularly by their rhythmic patterns, sublimating in his suites, for instance, dances of the time such as the bourée, gavotte, and sarabande in addition to art music.
The juxtaposition of both composers gives us a chance to hear the way that tango – in contrast to the common cliché of an unrestrained music of boundless passion and abandon – actually generates its intensity through austerity. And the music of Bach is likewise, despite persistent prejudicial notions about it, not only piously intellectual but in fact permeated by sensual, earthbound energy. Thus, in the "Fuga del Angel" we have the opportunity to break old listening habits and hear music that we thought we knew, as if for the first time.
Eckart Runge, cellist of the Artemis Quartet, 2012.
The Louvre Auditorium dedicates this concert to Henri Dutilleux.
Musée du Louvre: Jean-Luc Martinez, President Director; Monique Devaux, Concerts Artistic Director.
© Picture: MolinaVisuals
Verbier Festival 2008