On Stage at Curtis

Brahms and Barber with the Dover String Quartet

The Dover Quartet spent a year of residency at the Curtis Institute during the 2013/2014 season. All members of the quartet are Curtis graduates. They include: Joel Link & Bryan A. Lee, violins; Milena Pajaro-van de Stadt, viola; and Camden Shaw, cello. Their program:

Brahms: Quintet No.1 in F major, Op.88
Dover String Quartet, with Steven Tenenbom, viola
This string quintet was composed in 1882, and as he did so often, Brahms found sweet inspiration in nature, at the Austrian spa town of Bad Ischl. Indeed, Brahms was highly satisfied with his new work, describing it to Clara Schumann as one of his finest works. The quintet’s three movements are marked: Allegro non troppo ma con brio; Grave ed appassionato – Allegretto vivace – Tempo I – Presto – Tempo I; and Allegro energico – Presto.

Barber: String Quartet in B minor, Op.11
Dover String Quartet
Samuel Barber, of course, is one of the most famous graduates of the Curtis Institute. In 1935, he embarked on writing a chamber piece for the Curtis String Quartet. During the course of his work, he wrote to cellist Orlando Cole: “I have just finished the slow movement of my quartet today–it is a knockout!” And it certainly is: the Adagio has entered the literature most famously as the Adagio for Strings, in the orchestral version he wrote in 1943, and which has become a staple of classical, and even pop culture. Barber did not finish the quartet in time for the Curtis group’s world tour—that honor ultimately went to the Pro Arte Quartet. Barber later revised the work, and that version was premiered in 1943 by the Budapest Quartet. The three movements are marked: Molto allegro e appassionato; Molto adagio [attacca]; and Molto allegro (come prima).

Music Word of the Week: Solfege
1. A type of vocal exercise sung either to a vowel…or to the solmization syllables…The exercise serves a dual purpose: as basic vocal training; and as practice in sight-reading, since the student learns to recognize the intervals and notes.
2. The term has also been applied to instruction in the rudiments of music: “sight-singing, ear-training, study of notation, and so on…”
(from the Oxford Dictionary of Music)


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