Archive for Sunday, November 24, 2002

Russian string quartet to play at Lied today

November 24, 2002

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The St. Petersburg String Quartet will bring a distinctly Russian sound - one that stirs echoes of StalinâÂÂs 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 cityâÂÂs. Founded by Peter the Great in 1703, St. PetersburgâÂÂs name later changed to Leningrad under LeninâÂÂs Red rule. But when the city re-adopted its original name after a 1991 coup dâÂÂetat, the quartet, formerly known as the Leningrad String Quartet, took on the St. Petersburg moniker.

The program of the 17-year-old quartet âÂÂ:quot; which includes Alla Aranovskaya on first violin, Matvey Lapin on second violin, Aleksey Koptev on viola and Leonid Shukaev on cello âÂÂ:quot; will feature ShostakovichâÂÂs Quartet No. 2, GlazunovâÂÂs âÂÂFive Novelettesâ and NadarejshviliâÂÂs Quartet No. 1.

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

âÂÂSo people can see what a couple of Russian string players are like, what theyâÂÂre thinking, what kind of people they are and that they are real people,â 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.

âÂÂIt should probably be a rather heavy, dark piece because Stalin didnâÂÂt offer to his people anything particularly bright or cheerful,â he said. âÂÂIt should be an interesting musical reflection of one composerâÂÂs reaction to the Stalin period.âÂÂ

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

âÂÂShostakovich was certainly one of the most leading Russian composers of the 20th century,â he said. âÂÂHe 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.âÂÂ

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

GlazunovâÂÂs âÂÂFive Novelettes,â 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 groupâÂÂs 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 quartetâÂÂs 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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