PUTNEY >> Tonight at 8 p.m., the Big Barn opens early for Yellow Barn's alumni ensemble the Parker Quartet in a special pre-season performance of works by Webern, Bartók, and Schubert at the Big Barn.
Formed in 2002, the Grammy award-winning Parker Quartet (Daniel Chong and Ying Xue, violins; Jessica Bodner, viola; Kee-Hyun Kim, cello) recently joined the faculty of Harvard University's Department of Music as Blodgett Artists-in-Residence. In addition to touring both nationally and internationally to immense critical acclaim, the quartet also enjoys a visiting residency at the University of South Carolina. After a performance at Weill Hall at Carnegie Hall the New York Times reported: "Passages that demand ensemble precision were flawlessly balances, perfectly tuned and sheathed with lustrous textures," and claimed that the quartet stands out as "something extraordinary" in the vast field of superb quartets performing today.
On Thursday, the Parkers perform some of the great string quartets of the 19th and 20th centuries. The program begins with Anton Webern's Five Movements for String Quartet. Written in 1909, the piece challenges the traditional form of the string quartet. "It is as though the genre of the string quartet had imploded to its very minimum," writes German musicologist Barbara Zuber, "as though form and structure had been so condensed that only the essences remained."
The program continues with Bela Bartok's String Quartet No.1. Written in the same year as the Webern, this quartet foreshadows the composer's interest in Hungarian folk music in his later works.
The night ends with Franz Schubert's last string quartet. Although Schubert wrote his String Quartet in G major in just ten days, the immense work, written just two years before his death in 1828, was not performed in his lifetime. A milestone for any quartet, the Parkers will perform the Schubert for the first time in their history.
Yellow Barn's 47th summer season continues through August 6th in the spectacular Big Barn in Putney. Purchase tickets online atyellowbarn.org or call the box office at 802-387-6637. Reservations are strongly encouraged for guaranteed admission.