Gold Standard

10.01.18
Calidore String Quartet
Strings

The quartet’s resilience and determination seem to have developed early on. As Meehan tells it, “A few months after we formed, we took this oath to each other that this was going to be our number one priority. Any solo engagements, anything else we had was going to be secondary, because you need that kind of commitment from all four people to be successful.”

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Resilience, recorded in a quiet studio in a corner of Suffolk, came out of the quartet’s experiences during the presidential election in 2016. Post-election, on a West Coast tour, they sensed the concert atmosphere had changed. “All of a sudden we weren’t feeling any kind of activity or emotional response from the audience when we walked on the stage,” recalls Meehan. “As we played we found not only did we feel better immersed in the music, but we felt—and this was verbalized after the concert—from the audience, ‘This is what I needed today. It was hard to get out of bed.’ Of course we were in a very liberal setting. But across the board, this election exposed a lot of the philosophical conflicts in our society. It was kind of the pinnacle of the tension, this election.” Choi explains, “In a time when we’re so hyper aware of what’s happening in the world, there is a certain feeling of powerlessness because we don’t have control over so many of these elements. How do we gain control of who we are, what we do, and our place in society? What are we contributing? That’s when we started thinking about music, and how the music brings the best out of people, thinking about composers themselves facing intense difficulties, whether it’s inner conflict or outside conflict.” They chose four pieces that show how beautiful art can emerge from conflict and tragedy: Prokofiev’s Quartet No. 2, Op. 92, Janacek’s Quartet No. 1 “Kreutzer Sonata,” Osvaldo Golijov’s Tenebrae, and Mendelssohn’s searing Quartet No. 6, Op. 80.

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