One of the most respected composers in the United States is Grammy winner Joan Tower, who became the first woman to win the Grawemeyer Prize in 1990. She wrote In Memory in 2001 to commemorate a good friend but then dedicated it also to the memory of those who died in the attack on the World Trade Center that same year. The work is emotionally charged and extremely powerful; the musical language is straightforward and sometimes reminiscent of Shostakovich.
Siggi Strings, founded in 2012, is a string quartet comprising members of the Iceland Symphony. The quartet has drawn considerable attention for its vivid performances and intriguing repertoire, which includes a five-hour-long piece by Morton Feldman and works by Penderecki, Schnittke, and Beethoven.
Elgar’s passionate, anguished Cello Concerto is the latter work on the programme. Written in 1919, when the shadow of World War I still weighed heavily on Elgar, it was his last large-form work. Danish cello virtuoso Andreas Brantelid is on his home turf with this concerto, having performed it with innumerable orchestras all over the world ever since his debut at age 14 with the Royal Danish Orchestra in his native city, Copenhagen.
The hour-long Friday Series concerts are an excellent way to wind down after the work week and a marvellous prelude to a relaxing Friday evening.
Siggi String Quartet
Joan Tower In Memory
Edward Elgar Cello Concerto