Brentanos Premiere Matthew Aucoin String Quartet

Brentanos Premiere Matthew Aucoin String Quartet
Brentano Quartet; Credit: Juergen Frank
One side of my musical personality wants to burrow down a thorny, non-tonal rabbit hole; another is attracted to the luminous patience of so-called Minimalist music, or process music. But a third — and, for now, dominant — part of me wants to synthesize these conflicting tendencies.
— Matthew Aucoin 

In advance of 2020's world premiere of Eurydice, the first large-scale opera from 2018 MacArthur Fellow Matthew Aucoin, the composer debuts his String Quartet (2019), written for the distinguished Brentano Quartet and commissioned by Union College Concert Series, Carnegie Hall, La Jolla Music Society, and Da Camera of Houston. The world premiere takes place on November 3, at the Union College Concert Series in Schenectady, NY.

Full list of performances
November 3, 2019: Union College / Schenectady, NY
November 6, 2019: Zankel Hall at Carnegie Hall / New York, NY
December 6, 2019: The Hobby Center for the Performing Arts / Houston, TX
February 21, 2020: Conrad Prebys Performing Arts Center / La Jolla, CA

The String Quartet marks the completion of a two-part commission for the Brentano Quartet. The first piece, Soft Power (2018), is smaller in scale — "a string quartet in miniature" — and concerns itself with the musical "synthesis" Aucoin describes in the quote above. In the larger String Quartet, the composer accordingly turns his attention to a broader concept: the notion of "attention" itself, and how unseen forces manipulate our individual and collective attentions in the 21st century. Across three movements, Aucoin offers three studies in distinct kinds of human attention.

Following is a selection of chamber and vocal music from the Aucoin catalog, whose sample pages, audio excerpts, and eloquent program notes speak to the quality and variety of musical propositions to be found in his scores.

Dual (2015, 8 minutes)
cello, bass
Listen on SoundCloud | Preview and purchase on Classical on Demand

Merrill Songs (2015, 29 minutes)
Tenor, piano
Text: James Merrill (English)

Piano Trio (2014, 25 minutes)
violin, cello, piano
Preview and purchase on Classical on Demand

Soft Power (2018, 5 minutes)
string quartet
Preview and purchase on Classical on Demand

This Earth (2013, 10 minutes)
Countertenor or Mezzo-soprano or Contralto, clarinet, violin, cello, piano
Text: Dante (Italian)
Preview and purchase on Classical on Demand:
Voice and ensemble | Voice and piano

Three Études (2014, 9 minutes)
Listen on SoundCloud: rondo which devours itself | currents | a sounding
Preview and purchase on Classical on Demand

Three Whitman Songs (2013, 10 minutes)
Baritone, piano
Text: Walt Whitman (English)
Preview and purchase on Classical on Demand

Violin Sonata: Its Own Accord (2016, 21 minutes)
violin, piano
Watch on YouTube | Preview and purchase on Classical on Demand

For more information on the music of Matthew Aucoin, please contact Rachel Sokolow:

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