Magazine article Strings

The Cavanis Talk Bartok

Magazine article Strings

The Cavanis Talk Bartok

Article excerpt

During the next three concert seasons, the Cavani String Quartet - violinists Annie Fullard and Mari Sato; violist Kirsten Docter; and cellist Merry Peckham - are embarking on a quest to draw audiences to live chamber music with a series of "outside the box" programs pairing Bartok's six quartets with Haydn, Beethoven, Schubert, Ravel, Debussy, Cage, Schoenberg, and Szymanowski.

In a recent interview, the quartet members talked about their project.

Nancy Bargerstock: How will you bring audiences into closer rapport with Bartok's music?

Annie Fullard: Bartok's music engages, challenges, and entertains. Before the concert and from the stage, we will enhance our audience's musical appreciation of the music through demonstration of folk and other compositional threads that interconnect with the other compositions. We will strive to express the music's vast range of emotions and communicate the composer's ideals.

NB: How has research into Bartok changed your performance of the quartets?

Mari Sato: We had the good fortune of working with the eminent Bartok scholar Elliott Antokoletz. He profoundly inspired us, while he helped us to clarify voice leading through contrapuntal analysis, determine bow articulation by referencing folk sources, and elucidate the rhythm by regrouping patterns, regardless of the bar lines.

NB: How does Bartok's writing evolve from Quartet No. 1 through No. 6?

MS: The quartets follow a progressive evolution of musical style. The First Quartet follows the Romantic tradition (Wagner and Strauss), while the second quartet combines French Impressionism (Debussy) and Arab folk music. …

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