by Gabriela Tedeschi
Photo by Shervin Lainez.
The world-renowned JACK Quartet welcomes a fifth member this week at the Town Music season finale: acclaimed cellist Joshua Roman. With a program designed to conjure up vivid images and emotions, Roman and the quartet are using sound to paint pictures and tell stories that will linger in listeners’ minds. Perhaps the most evocative work on the program is a piece by Roman himself.
Photo by Hayley Young.
Roman, who leapt right into performing with the Seattle Symphony and around the world after studying at the Cleveland Institute of Music, began composing his own music in 2013. He was commissioned by Town Hall and Music Academy of the West to compose Tornado, a work that paints a portrait of the storms that were a fixture of his childhood in Oklahoma.
Tornado is also inspired by music traditions of the past: Roman quotes a theme from Beethoven’s Pastoral Symphony and alludes to works of the Baroque era which use virtuosity to evoke sensations of nature. In an ode to the untameable force of a tornado, Roman has left elements of the piece up to chance and performer interpretation by writing microtone smears and aleatoric parts.
The first half of the concert will feature John Zorn’s exhilarating Ouroboros and Jefferson Friedman’s Quintet, a musical manifestation of the grieving process. Amy Williams’ Richter Textures also appears on the first half of the program, each of its seven parts inspired by a different painting from German artist Gerhard Richter and each seeking to musically portray the complex textures his visual art is famous for.
In addition to Tornado, the second half will feature three Madrigali libro sesto from Don Carlo Gesualdo, arranged by Ari Streisfeld for strings. Gesualdo—an unstable and murderous 17th century composer—is known for chromatic harmonies and diverse emotional expressions that make his music sound modern to contemporary audiences. Because removing the voices meant removing the lyrics, Streisfeld employs different timbral techniques to convey the meaning and emotions of the text to the audience.
Second Inversion is thrilled to offer a LIVE concert broadcast of the performance this Thursday, May 10 at 7:30pm PT. Click here to stream the performance live from anywhere in the world!
Jefferson Friedman: Quintet (2013)
John Zorn: Ouroboros (2017)
Amy Williams: Richter Textures (2011)
Carlo Gesualdo: Selections from Madrigali libro sesto, arranged by Ari Streisfeld
Lo parto, e non più dissi
Beltà, poi che t’assenti
Già piansi nel dolore
Joshua Roman: Tornado (2017)
Town Music presents JACK Quartet and Joshua Roman on Thursday, May 10 at 7:30pm at Seattle First Baptist Church. For tickets and additional information, click here.