July 13, 2016 Newsletter

Alexander String Quartet - Miami String Quartet - Horszowski Trio

In This Issue
Greetings, friends.
 
With this newsletter, I will share what's coming up for the Alexander String Quartet, Miami String Quartet, and Horszowski Trio. Watch for subsequent notices with plans from the other artists I have the honor to represent - though of course you are always welcome to look up what's current on the newly updated BesenArts website.

I look forward to being in touch.

--Robert

P.S.: Many of you have asked me why I have not written about Hoboken recently. I'll address that at the end of this missive.


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Alexander String Quartet

The Alexander String Quartet has a wonderful season in store. They will premiere a new quartet from the British-American composer Tarik O'Regan, a commission of the Boise Chamber Music Series celebrating that series' 30th anniversary. The work, titled "Gradual," will be premiered in early October. (Watch the Alexander and O'Regan work on the piece.)

Soon after that, the Alexander's latest recording will be released - Mozart's "Prussian" quartets.
 
The Alexander's programs for 2017-2018 and 2018-2019 include:
1. The Three B's - Presenters chose from works of Beethoven, Britten or Bartók, and Brahms.
2. World War II Commemorative - A true ASQ evergreen, this popular program draws on many related works, with the current version comprising the Haydn "Emperor," the rarely-heard William Walton quartet, and Shostakovich's dramatic String Quartet No. 2.
3. ASQ Favorites - This edition offers Mozart's K. 589 from the "Prussian" set, Shostakovich's Quartet No. 9, and a choice of the Ravel or the Schubert "Death and the Maiden."
 
But there's more...
 
The Alexander and Joyce Yang (courtesy Arts Management Group) are excited to continue their collaboration. Of particular interest, they offer a program comprising entirely piano quintets. The possibilities include Schumann and Brahms (which they have recorded, to great acclaim), Dvořák, and Schnittke. Keep an eye open soon for information on a commission that is process.
 
And if you can't get enough Shostakovich, there are two possibilities:
1. The complete String Quartet cycle (15 works, 5 concerts)
2. A Shostakovich "Mini Festival," with guest pianist, including string quartets; sonatas with piano for violin, viola, and cello; the piano quintet; and more.
 
Enjoy this promo from a forthcoming documentary based on the Alexander's tour of Poland last year:
 
There is a wealth of wonderful recorded material (concert and otherwise) here:
 

Miami String Quartet

I will open with a link to a Miami String Quartet review from Cleveland Classical that just crossed my desk, of a
"thrilling concert" for Kent/Blossom Music.

The Miami String Quartet will celebrate its 30th anniversary in 2018. One might say I first had the pleasure to work with the Miami when it was preschool age. That was 1992, when they won the Concert Artists Guild competition, which made me their privileged manager for a stint, and it's wonderful to be working again for one of America's great string quartets.
 
Alongside Beethoven, Brahms, and Mendelssohn, a particular focus for 2017-2018 will be Czech repertory, namely Smetana's String Quartet No. 1 "From My Life," and several works of Erwin Schulhoff (1894-1942). Schulhoff was a protégé of Dvořák, and on track for a major international career, but perished in Wülzburg concentration camp. He left four works for string quartet, and the Miami has taken up all of them.
 
In addition, the Miami will bring back into repertory one of its very first commissions, Bruce Adolphe's moving "Whispers of Mortality" from 1992 (and yes, I was in on that).
 
Finally, the Miami is pleased to offer a collaboration with the extraordinary pianist André-Michel Schub. Mr. Schub is one of America's most distinguished pianists, and has been collaborating regularly at festivals with the Miami String Quartet for many years. For these touring programs, they offer either (or both) the Brahms piano quintet and G-minor piano quartet.
 
Here's a link to some live concert recordings:
 

Horszowski Trio

The Horszowski Trio has another terrific season ahead. They give their first performances for Da Camera of Houston and the Maverick Concerts, pay a return visit to the Mobile Chamber Music, make two visits to California, and their first to Canada. They will record Eric Moe's "Welcome To Phase Space," which was written for and premiered by them.
 
Their 2017-2018 theme is "Hidden Treasures." All their programs have something unexpected. One program features a trio by Arno Babajanian - a work that is standard repertory in Russia, but all but unknown in the West. Another features a trio of Arthur Foote, the first important composer trained wholly in the United States. A third program brings together trios of Haydn and Dvořák that share remarkably similar themes. There's more, and I hope you'll explore.
 
The Horszowski is also very excited to announce a collaboration with violist Masumi Per Rostad, of the Pacifica Quartet. Available works include piano quartets of Schumann, Fauré, and Dvořák.
 
Here's a wonderful complete, live Schubert E-flat major trio performance, and other recorded material:
 

DON'T FORGET EVERYONE ELSE!
(The rest of the BesenArts roster)
So... WHAT'S UP WITH HOBOKEN?
I've been quiet. If you know me, that's not my MO, certainly not with this topic. The problem is that things have gotten sort of boring in Hoboken, at least as to politics and corruption. The main event is that the last round of municipal elections (November 2015) left the "Reform" group supportive of Mayor Dawn Zimmer solidly in control of the City Council, 7 to 2, and in particular, the Mayor's gadfly, Beth Mason, did not run for re-election. The Reform camp decisively controls not only the Mayor's office and the Council, but also the Board of Education and the Board of the Hoboken Housing Authority.
 
All of this can change - there is a mayoral election next year, and the "Old Guard" is hardly dead. Their likely candidate is Anthony "Stick" Romano. He is not only possessed of a most remarkable nickname (one I have never seen explained), but is also one of Hudson County's Chosen Freeholders, which is the rather glorified title we in New Jersey give to members of our county legislatures. I will note that in Hoboken, county taxes eclipse local taxes (not so here in Bergen County - at least not Tenafly), and the county budget only moves in upward leaps - never a modest change. I have doubts anyone truly knows where the money goes. But it is all too opaque for the likes of me, who has other work to do.
 
As it's been awhile since I've done one of these newsletters, I'll reference you to two somewhat dated pieces of mine.
 
First, there is a pre-election (meaning November 2, 2015) edition of the Hoboken Diary. That article featured action in both Hoboken and my current haunt, Tenafly, which provided some entertainment. (The outcome in Hoboken is that the Old Guard retained the seats for the 3rd and 4th wards; for Tenafly, the incumbent mayor was easily re-elected, and the Democrats swept the council.)
 
Second, last October, I posted an essay on the BesenArts blog that ties together Itzhak Perlman and Frank Sinatra. No corruption in this at all.
 
I will add that I have not put my pen down. It's only resting.

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