This week, StLJN's is on the contemporary-composition beat with some performances on video by the Spektral Quartet, a Chicago-based group that will make their St. Louis debut in a concert presented by New Music Circle and the Washington University School of Music at 8:00 p.m. next Saturday, March 5 at the 560 Music Center.
Formed in 2010, Spektral Quartet includes violinists Austin Wulliman and Clara Lyon, violist Doyle Armbrust, and cellist Russell Rolen. Serving as an ensemble-in-residence at the University of Chicago, they perform both "the great works of the traditional canon and those written this decade, this year, or this week." The quartet also "prioritizes immersion and inclusivity through close-proximity seating and delivers the majority of its Chicago concerts in vibrant, unconventional venues."
They've recorded three albums, the most recent being Serious Business, released in January of this year, as well as "Mobile Miniatures," a 2014 project for which they "commissioned more than 45 composers from around the country to re-imagine the world of ringtones, alerts, and alarms."
Their announced program for St. Louis includes "Bagatellen for String Quartet," a new commissioned work from Hans Thomalla, a German-born composer now living in Chicago; and Swiss composer Beat Furrer's String Quartet No. 3. Also of note is that in addition to their concert on Saturday evening, they'll be holding an open rehearsal from 1:00 p.m. to 2:15 p.m. Saturday afternoon at the Tavern of Fine Arts.
In this video sampler, you can see Spektral Quartet playing music by some other contemporary composers, starting with a rendition of George Crumb's famous "Black Angels," written in 1970 for electrified string quartet and seen here in a recording made in May, 2012 in Chicago.
After the jump, there's a video of the quartet playing Philip Glass' String Quartet No 2, aka "Company," recorded in January 2015 in Chicago.
After that, you can see videos of two works by composer David Reminick. "Bring a Dead Man Back Into Life" was recorded by an audience member at a performance in January of this year at SubCulture in NYC, while "Oh My God, I'll Never Get Home" is from a concert in October 2014 at Constellation in Chicago.
The last two clips both were recorded in December 2011 at the Bienen School of Music at Northwestern University as part of a program of quartets by Northwestern faculty and students, with violinist Aurelien Pederzoli substituting for Lyon. Both works - "Albumblatt" by Hans Thomalla, and String Quartet No. 1 by Eliza Brown - were included on Spektral Quartet's debut album.