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Haydn, Contemporary, Electronic


The Cramer Quartet full profile / historical string quartet / 4 musicians

Other players: The Cramer Quartet - Jessica Park and Kate Goddard, violins Annie Garlid, viola Michael Unterman, cello UCC Harlo

Full program notes

The Cramer Quartet is a period instrument string quartet that combines the world of historically informed performance with newly commissioned works exploring and expanding the sound world of gut strings.

Join us for the latest chapter of Haydn: Dialogues, our multi-year cycle combining Haydn’s 68 string quartets with sixteen new commissions by composers of marginalized identities. Each commission is an invitation for a composer to respond to Haydn’s string quartet oeuvre in the composer’s own musical voice. On December 7, we’ll perform 30 mengstaße, a new work by inti figgis-vizueta alongside Haydn's Op. 71 No. 2 string quartet.

The second half of the program will feature a solo set from CQ violist Annie Garlid, AKA UCC Harlo, who "stages sonic communions between the old and the new, contemplates contemporary relationships to the natural world, and casts music as mood. A classically-trained viola player and singer, she reworks her own performances of medieval, Renaissance, and baroque music or begins from scratch, infiltrating hauntological new-age ambience with liturgical choral riffs, off-the-cuff recordings, and fur-soft ASMR vocals."

Franz Joseph Haydn String Quartet in D Major, Op. 71, No. 2
inti figgis-vizueta 30 mengstaße
UCC Harlo - selections from United and Topos plus unreleased music

Historical context

Franz Joseph Haydn (1732-1809) is fondly know as the father of the string quartet for many reasons. He wrote 68 sting quartets and he experimented with and developed the string quartet as a genre over the course of his career.

One part of our Haydn Dialogues project is to perform all 68 of Haydn’s string quartets. and the other is to commission a living composer to write a new work in response to one of Haydn’s string quartet opuses.

As early musicians, we explore music as it was performed during its own time. The instruments we are play are set up in a style similar to Haydn’s time. We look at first-hand sources like manuscripts for clues and insights a particular composition. We delve into common stylistic practices of the day to get a better sense of the musical context surrounding a work.

We are not trying to recreate the past, but we feel we are engaging in a conversation and a dialogue with the past. The Haydn: Dialogues commissions is our invitation for a living composer to join us in this conversation.

inti figgis-vizueta's Haydn: Dialogues commission, 30 mengstraße, was written in response to Haydn's opus 71 string quartets and is inspired by the beautiful and unusual architecture of the buildings on Mengstraße in Lübeck, Germany. The buildings showcase the techniques of Backsteingiebel, or the Brick Renaissance, combining stepped gables with arch windows to create awe-inspiring and dizzying geometric views from below.

NY-based composer inti figgis-vizueta (b.1993) braids a childhood of overlapping immigrant communities and Black-founded Freedom schools—in Chocolate City (DC)—with direct Andean & Irish heritage and a deep connection to the land. “Her music feels sprouted between structures, liberated from certainty and wrought from a language we’d do well to learn” writes The Washington Post. inti's work explores the transformative power of group improvisation and play, working to reconcile historical aesthetics and experimental practices with trans & Indigenous futures. Recent highlights include the Carnegie Hall premiere of her string quartet concerto, Seven Sides of Fire, written for the Attacca Quartet and American Composers Orchestra, conducted by Mei-Ann Chen; performances of Coradh (bending) by the Spoleto Festival, PODIUM Festival, and Oregon Symphony; and the REDCAT premiere of her evening-length show Music for Transitions, created in collaboration with two-time Grammy Award-winning cellist Andrew Yee, praised as “thrilling” and “revolutionary” by I Care If You Listen. Upcoming projects include clay songs for Kronos Quartet’s 50th Anniversary, a new Carnegie Hall-commissioned work for Ensemble Connect, continued development of Earths to Come for vocal ensemble Roomful of Teeth, and a new piano concerto for Conrad Tao and the Cincinnati Symphony, conducted by Matthias Pintscher.