chamber music contemporary

marz oddz and endz

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The Arnica Quartet is in the midst of rehearsing for a very interesting program, part of Marzena’s March Music Moderne series, that’s coming up at 8:00 p.m. Friday, March 25th at the Community Music Center, 3350 SE Francis (free admission).

There are several works for the full quartet: the world premiere of Bob Priest’s String Quartet III – Variations on a Tune by Frank Zappa, Michael Longton’s Almost nothing like Purple Haze, Gorecki’s extraordinary and powerful String Quartet No. 1 – Already it is Dusk, and Beethoven’s revolutionary Grosse Fugue, Op. 133.

Bob’s piece consists of four movements, each based upon the Zappa tune Watermelon in Easter Hay from his seminal album Joe’s Garage. Here is the original studio version of the song, the actual tune comes in after the spoken word portion, at around 1’22”.


Each of the movements is done in the manner of one of Bob’s favorite composers: R. Murray Schafer, Benjamin Britten, Henryk Gorecki, and Charles Ives.

There are also two sets of duos – the Sonata for Two Violins, Op. 10 by Gorecki, and the Bucolics for viola and cello by Lutoslawski. They’re both very approachable works, with the Gorecki being powerful and affecting, the Lutoslawski charming and light. The whole shebang is part of the March Music Moderne orchestrated by the indefatigable Marzena hippie-in-chief Bob Priest.

You can see the whole lineup for the remaining events in this MMM series here.

By Charles Noble

I'm the Assistant principal violist of the Oregon Symphony.

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