This evening is part of a special exchange between the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London and the mdw-University of Music and Performing Arts Vienna.
Two established string quartets, the Vienna-based Novo Quartet and the Elmore String Quartet from London, will share with the audience their working process and its outcome on some examples from well known and loved canonical string quartet works as well as Mendelssohn's String Octet in E flat major op. 20. The event will include a workshop followed by a performance of Mendelssohn's Octet, followed by an open conversation with the audience.
Rather than a formal concert, this is an invitation to join the musicians during their work in progress, experience them taking risks, applying intense heightened listening and musical telepathy as well as searching for expressing narrative.
The audience is warmly invited to participate by asking questions and become a part of the process!
The word 'Improvisation' sounds like the complete opposite of what high quality classical music performance is about, doesn’t it?
This is far from what European art-music performance was about until the end of the 19th century, when listeners expected to be surprised and be taken into the unexpected. The performance of well-known works included improvised repeats and cadenzas, extemporised preludes before a performed composition, interludes between movements and postludes following canonical works and entire extemporised pieces. In addition, fantasias were often improvised on themes provided by the audience.
The Austrian mdw and the Guildhall School in London are collaborating in reviving this tradition and its spirit. This event demonstrates this collaboration, guided by Professor Johannes Meissl (mdw) and Professor David Dolan (Guildhall School).
The Elmore Quartet is currently holding the position of Hans Keller Chamber Fellows at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London.
Johannes Meissl (© Sabine Hauswirth)