The Well-Tempered Ear

Classical music poll: Which program should the Jerusalem String Quartet perform in Madison?

April 5, 2010

By Jacob Stockinger

Many listeners don’t realize that arts presenters must often choose program from a Chinese menu-like list of options.

So it is that Ralph Russo, the cultural arts director of the Wisconsin Union Theater, is asking for readers of The Well Tempered Ear to sound off about what they would like to hear the award-winning Jerusalem String Quartet play.

Here is Russo’s e-mail:

Below are the program offerings by the Jerusalem String Quartet (below) for their 2010 North American tour.  I’d love your readers help in selecting the program and look forward to hearing their suggestions.

Please note a program on Mendelssohn, Debussy, Brahms is NOT possible.

FIRST WORK (choose one):

Mozart: Quartet in D-Major, K575

Haydn: Quartet in F-Minor, Op. 20, No. 5

Mendelssohn: Quartet in E-Minor, Op. 44, No. 2

SECOND WORK (choose one)

Janacek:  Quartet No. 1 (“Kreutzer Sonata”)

Debussy:  String Quartet

Mark Kopytman:  String Quartet No. 3 (1969)

THIRD WORK (choose one)

Brahms:  Quartet in C-Minor, Op. 51, No. 1

Mendelssohn:  Quartet in E-Minor, Op. 44, No. 2

Debussy:  String Quartet

Here’s a link to their site that has a page with with various excerpts form some of the choices:

And here is a link to the Israeli composer Mark Kopytman as a research tool:

My own choices?

I love the Haydn, Op. 20, No. 5, and Haydn is one of the Jerusalem’s specialties, along with Shostakovich.

I’d love to hear them do Debussy.

And how can I resist ending with Brahms?

I’m also interested in the Mark Kopytman Quartet, but would like to more how his music sounds — and I am suspicious that there are no YouTube videos of his music.

But here are a YouTube videos of the Jerusalem playing a part of the Haydn and the movement from a different Op. 51 quartet by Brahms:

Whatever you decide, you can hear the quality of the playing. It’s something to look forward to.

It’s good if you are in Madison and might attend the Jerusalem Quartet’s concert, depending on the program. But even if you are elsewhere and have an opinion, let us know what it is. Building a program is both a big challenge and a lot of fun.

So let Ralph — and the rest of us — know what you think.

The Ear wants to hear.

And so does Russo.

Posted in Classical music

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