EPILOGUE - FIRST RECORDING FOR MIRÓ ON OXINGALE -INCLUDES SCHUBERT'S FAMOUS QUINTET AND
MENDELSSOHN'S STRING QUARTET IN F MINOR
"The Texas-based Miró Quartet finds an ideal match in Mendelssohn's final string quartet (Op. 80 in F-minor). The performance has the feel of astonishment and probing exploration. The opening movement comes off with taut alacrity, and the Allegro is keenly phrased. The Adagio sets off its insistent, congested chords with narrative amplitude. An exciting Finale is by turns feverish and terse."
--San Francisco Chronicle
--ABC News World News Tonight on the Miró Quartet
Oxingale is proud to release the first recording collaboration of the acclaimed Miró Quartet and famed cellist Matt Haimovitz in a CD titled Epilogue. Together, Miró and Haimovitz perform Schubert's ethereal C major String Quintet (D 956), and the Miró Quartet alone performs Mendelssohn's stormy, final String Quartet in F minor (Op. 80).
Epilogue explores two strikingly different works, each written in the last months in the lives of two contemporary early Romantic composers, Franz Schubert and Felix Mendelssohn.
The "Two-Cello" Quintet is Schubert's last major work, which he completed in the months just before his death at age 31, in 1828: it is by turns serene and celebratory, reflective and full of light. Mendelssohn, on the other hand, so often considered a light and happy composer, wrote his tragic, angry, and impassioned F minor Quartet - his last in that form - in the few months between the death of his beloved sister, Fanny, and his own, at 38, in 1847.
While the two works on Epilogue are linked by being major and "testamentary," the emotional tenor of each is remarkably different. In a superb article accompanying the Epilogue CD, Miró Quartet violist John Largess discusses the two works:
"Mendelssohn's quartet was composed in fierce bursts, seeming to be hardly refined at all, and in this titanic outburst, an altogether different Mendelssohn was revealed: an angry, stormy, unrelenting man unable to find peace or accept the truth...As the end of Mendelssohn's life can be seen as a journey into the darkness, so the untimely death of the young Franz Schubert affirms a release into the light...Overcome with giddiness, exhaustion, and increasing delirium, Franz Schubert left this life with a musical message of hope, joy, even triumph."
Internationally-acclaimed cellist Matt Haimovitz, who established Oxingale with composer Luna Pearl Woolf, commented on his collaboration with the Miró Quartet:
"This project has been an amazing experience. The working relationship we developed evolved from my observing Miró and their mechanics, to the point where we both felt I didn't mess up their special chemistry, but added new spice to the mix. Schubert does this in the Quintet itself by adding an additional voice to the mix, that is, to the usual string quartet. This gives a richness and remarkable possibilities of color that are all new."
Indeed, the collaboration was a happy one for both parties. Miró Quartet cellist Josh Gindele commented:
"The exciting thing about working with Matt is that he has drive and vision unlike anyone we've performed with. This is true of him not just as a performer, but business-wise as well. His vision is reflected in everything he does in his recording company, and he is truly an inspired musician - always original. When we rehearsed, for example, Matt would suggest something different and surprising to us, something we hadn't thought of or wouldn't think of, and it turned out to be simply wonderful."
**Schubert Live, and On the Road**
Matt Haimovitz has gained particular attention in recent years, taking his 17th-century Italian cello into bars, taverns and other untraditional venues to perform music ranging from Bach to Jimi Hendrix. The response to his nationwide tours has been astoundingly enthusiastic, and it seemed only natural, then, to invite the Miró Quartet to perform the Schubert Quintet "on the road" in similar venues. Accordingly, the Miró Quartet and Matt Haimovitz will hit the road with three performances of the Schubert Quintet. They will play in Deerfield, MA on Friday, March 26, in Baltimore's An Die Musik on April 27, and finally, New York's famous Joe's Pub will play host to Miró and Haimovitz on Wednesday, April 28 at 9:30pm.
**About the Miró Quartet**
The Miró Quartet is increasingly recognized as one of America's brightest and most exciting young chamber groups. The New York Times wrote, "Playing of this caliber casts light on the path ahead." Since winning the prestigious Naumburg Chamber Music Award in 2000, the Miró Quartet has captivated audiences around the world, dazzling listeners with its youthful intensity and mature interpretations. In 2003, the quartet was appointed Faculty String Quartet at the University of Texas at Austin. The members of the Miró Quartet teach and coach chamber music there, while continuing their active international touring schedule. With this appointment, UT Austin joins an elite group of institutions whose faculties include a world-class string quartet. The Miró Quartet is named after the Spanish artist Joan Miró (1893-1983), whose surrealist works - with subject matter drawn from the realm of memory and imaginative fantasy - are some of the most original of the 20th century. Additional information about the Quartet may be found at www.miroquartet.com.
In December 2003, the Miró Quartet's performance of George Crumb's landmark "Black Angels" on a new Bridge Records CD was chosen as one of the best recordings of 2003 by the Philadelphia Inquirer.
**About Matt Haimovitz**
Cellist Matt Haimovitz has established himself as one of classical music's most adventurous artists, equally at ease playing the masterworks for his instrument in solo, chamber and concerto performances in leading concert halls as he is in bringing classical music to new listeners in alternative venues. Since his debut with the Israel Philharmonic and Zubin Mehta in his early teens, Haimovitz has performed with the great conductors and symphony orchestras of the world. Recently Haimovitz has made headlines for his 50-state tour, playing the music of J. S. Bach and living American composers in music clubs and listening rooms. He has been featured on ABC TV's Nightline Up Close and NPR's All Things Considered. His latest recording, Anthem, was named the Best Classical Instrumental Album of 2003 by Amazon.com. He currently heads the cello program at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.