Friday, June 1, 2018
8 PM: Concert
Contemporary Arts Center New Orleans
900 Camp Street
Downtown New Orleans
Joseph Haydn: String Quartet Op. 76 no. 2 “Fifths”
Osvaldo Golijov: Dreams and Prayers of Isaac the Blind for String Quartet & Klezmer Clarinet
Johannes Brahms: Piano Quartet no. 1 in G minor
This concert traces a tale of two musical diasporas. Music travels with people and there are few people more famous for their music (or travels) than the Romani. Long persecuted in Europe and known disparagingly as Gypsies, Tzigane, Zigeuner, or Zingaro, the Romani originally came from India, perhaps descendants of a traveling caste of musicians and dancers. Both Brahms and Haydn took inspiration from the music of the Romani in Hungary and often wrote pieces marked Alla Zingarese or “in gypsy style,” bringing music of the street and tavern (music that was otherwise excluded from the halls of power) into palaces and concert halls. Haydn took glee in writing rolicking gypsy minuets and rondos—one of these appears in his String Quartet Op. 76 no. 2. Likewise, the music of the Hungarian gypsies provided Brahms with some of his most fertile musical inspiration, as in the last movement of his G minor Piano Quartet, marked alla zingarese.
Klezmer music, too, has traveled with its people. Meaning “instrument of song”, Klezmer has blessed births, weddings, and burials, generation by generation. Argentine composer Osvaldo Golijov’s Dreams and Prayers of Isaac the Blind takes inspiration from the great kabbalist rabbi of Provence. Golijov writes that Isaac the Blind believed “that all things and events in the universe are product of combinations of the Hebrew alphabet’s letters: Their root is in a name, for the letters are like branches, which appear in the manner of flickering flames, mobile, and nevertheless linked to the coal.”
Note: This concert will be preceded by a 7 PM Introduction to the Music given by renowned speaker and presenter Patrick Castillo.