Archive for Sunday, November 24, 2002

Russian string quartet to play at Lied today

November 24, 2002


The St. Petersburg String Quartet will bring a distinctly Russian sound - one that stirs echoes of Stalin's Communist reign - to the Lied Center today.

The critically acclaimed quartet hails from the city by the Baltic Sea and has changed its face with the city's. Founded by Peter the Great in 1703, St. Petersburg's name later changed to Leningrad under Lenin's Red rule. But when the city re-adopted its original name after a 1991 coup d'etat, the quartet, formerly known as the Leningrad String Quartet, took on the St. Petersburg moniker.

The program of the 17-year-old quartet :quot; which includes Alla Aranovskaya on first violin, Matvey Lapin on second violin, Aleksey Koptev on viola and Leonid Shukaev on cello :quot; will feature Shostakovich's Quartet No. 2, Glazunov's "Five Novelettes" and Nadarejshvili's Quartet No. 1.

Daniel Politoske, Kansas University professor emeritus of music history, will lead a pre-concert lecture at 1 p.m. He'll interview two quartet members in the Lied Center's Oldfather Warm-Up/Dance Studio.

"So people can see what a couple of Russian string players are like, what they're thinking, what kind of people they are and that they are real people," Politoske said.

All three composers on the program are Russian, Nadarejshvili being the most contemporary (1957-present). His quartet is a musical reflection of the emotional experience of the Georgian people during the period of Stalinism and World War II, Politoske said.

"It should probably be a rather heavy, dark piece because Stalin didn't offer to his people anything particularly bright or cheerful," he said. "It should be an interesting musical reflection of one composer's reaction to the Stalin period."

The Shostakovich also will have a dark tone, Politoske said.

"Shostakovich was certainly one of the most leading Russian composers of the 20th century," he said. "He was in and out of favor with the Communist Party from time to time, but he continued to compose and is very representative of Russian style in the mid-19th century."

His Quartet No. 2 was composed in 1944, at the tail end of World War II, and is a "very serious, profound piece," Politoske said.

The St. Petersburg String Quartet will play an all-Russian program at 2 p.m. today at the Lied Center. A 1 p.m. lecture by Daniel Politoske, Kansas University professor emeritus of music history, will precede the concert in the Lied Center's Oldfather Warm-Up/Dance Studio.Tickets are $22 and $27 for the public, $11 and $13.50 for students and children, $21 and $26 for seniors, and $18 and $23 for KU faculty and staff. Tickets are available at the Lied Center, 864-ARTS; Murphy Hall, 864-3982; SUA Office, 864-SHOW; and any TicketMaster outlet, (785) 234-4545.

Glazunov's "Five Novelettes," a late Romantic piece, should be relatively light and pleasant, he said.

Soon after the quartet formed in 1985, under the guidance of Vladimir Ovcharek, first violinist of the Taneyev String Quartet, the group won first prize at the All-Soviet Union String Quartet Competition. It achieved great success at the First International Shostakovich Competition for String Quartets, held in 1987 in Leningrad. The group's achievements led to invitations to tour in the Soviet Union and abroad.

The group has been the quartet-in-residence at Oberlin Conservatory of Music in Ohio for the past four years.

The quartet's Lawrence appearance is part of a series of Russian programming the Lied Center has planned in conjunction with other KU departments honoring the St. Petersburg Tercentenary Celebration.

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