Two Days in Skopje (posted Monday March 28th)
I am just about to leave Macedonia after two inspiring days at the Days of Macedonian Music (DMM) with the Kreutzers. We played three concerts (23 works) in two days, all of them surrounded by the treasures of the Archaeological Museum. It was a great chance for us to set works written for us in the context of works by Macedonian composers and an overview of the great 20th Centuray literature for Quartet, from Ives to Ligeti.
Charles Ives – Scherzo ‘Holding your own’
David Matthews-Quartet No 10
This wonderful quartet was written for us in 2000, and has been central to our repertoire ever since. It is available on our first disc of the complete Matthews quartets TOCCATA CLASSICS TOCC 0058
Tomislav Zografski – Quartet (1968)
This week was the first time that we have performed any of Zografski’s music. Having played this work twice in one week, we find it more and more fascinating. Zografski was a masterful teacher.
Goran Nacevski-5 Sketches for Violin and Cello
I played and recorded Nacevski’s violin/piano miniatures on my first visit to Macedonia, so it was a joy to work with him again on these new works.
Soni Petrovski-String Quartet
Soni is one of the leaders of new music culture in the Balkans-I have performed his ‘Bric-a-Brac’ for solo violin all over the world. This quartet is typical of his music, bursting with energy and cross rhythms.
Anton Webern – 6 Bagatelles
Vlastimir Nikolovski-2nd Quartet
Nikolovski is no longer with us, so we have come to know him through this dance and chant-filled quartet. It was very apt that this quartet was in the same concert as the Bartok 3, with which it shares so much. The second movement begins with an extraordinary extended solo for cello, in character as an orthodox priest, leading to brilliantly conceived 8-part material, with the quartet split in two halves, as choirs of women and men.
Tomislav Zografski – Il Canto (Solo Viola)
This was a great vehicle for Morgan Goff’s impassioned lyrcism, and his spectacular Daniel Parker viola (1704), perhaps one of the greatest British instruments ever to be made.
Nicola LeFanu – 3rd Quartet
This is mow the third time we have played this piece since premiering it at Wilton’s Music Hall two weeks ago. It is a piece which has been fitted to the Kreutzer style so perfectly, that we cannot remember actually learning it, and is proving to be an enchanting work for audiences.
Toma Proshev – Mussanda & Oscillations
Concert 3:(2 Violins PSS and Mihailo Trandafilovski)
Giacinto Scelsi- Arc-en-Ciel
Dafina Zeqiri – Dream Listen
I met Dafina in Pristina, and brought her to Skopje in 2007. Now she is studying there with the wonderful composer and friend Jana Andreevska, so it was great to be with her in her new city. Rolf Martinsson-Symbiosis
Rolf is one of the greatest Scandinavian composers, and a dear friend and colleague on my Malmo project. This duo is one of the most dramatic and exciting works for 2 violins.
I met Bojana at the Skopje Music Faculty in 2006, on a project sponsored by the British Council, and have played this piece many times since.
Evis Sammoutis – Dimorphism
This work is the definitive introduction to the Sammoutis sound world, full of rainbows, textures and novel crystalline sounds.
David Gorton- 3 Caprices (watch)
A huge pleasure as ever, to perform selections for Mihailo’s wonderful ‘Cekori’ cycle. Amazing to have a composer/player of such genius as a colleague.
Michael Hersch- From the Snowy Margins
I premiered this shatteringly emotional work at Dartington last year. One of the movements is marked ‘Terrifying, Cataclysmic’. There are very few composers who can succeed in bringing that off with violin alone. Hersch is one of them. LIsten to his ‘Five Fragments’-a live performance I gave in Mexico 6 years ago.
Michael Alec Rose – Everything under the Sun: Four Seasons
After the concert many of the audience spoke about how enchanted they were with this work. Some of them spoke of their wonder at a work of our time succeeding in being so ‘refreshing’-this word came up repeatedly in the post-concert conversations. This piece was a perfect way to end the weekend exploration-from Ives to Rose, American to American, by way of Ligeti, Webern, Matthews, LeFanu, Zografski, Zeqiri!