2013 is already a busy year for The Attacca Quartet. The group is in the midst of a multi-year project to perform all of Haydn's 68 string quartets, and on Mar. 26, the ensemble will celebrate the release of a new album of John Adams's complete string quartets with a performance at Le Poisson Rouge featuring the composer himself. Attacca and Adams have a long-standing rapport—the quartet offered the premiere of Adams's String Quartet in 2009 at Lincoln Center's Alice Tully Hall.
Attacca's cellist, Andrew Yee, writes the following of the ensemble's Mixtape:
When we were emailed to make a Mixtape for Q2, my first response was "hell yes!" The art of the mixtape is something that I think was lost a with the invent of shuffle and the fact that you didn't have to abide by the ordering decisions of the past when listening to an album. I remember sitting down and making cassettes for friends and family and really pulling my hair out to find the order. Not much has changed. I sit here in front of my computer with two pages of scribbled notes an empty coffee pot and a handful of hair.
My quartet was founded in 2003 just after the invent of the iPod. None of us were cool enough yet, so when we took trips as a quartet we made mix cds for the drive. They always had a theme, and they always served a purpose. For me it was always that I had them as a captive audience for future pieces I wanted to play (It worked for Ligeti Quartet #1 and Janacek "Intimate Letters" Quartet by the way). But either way, it kept us occupied for the drives into suburbia to whatever church was going to have us play an early evening concert.
The playlist we have provided today is a list from a quartet, which means it is a list from four strong-headed personalities, without necessarily the same taste, which is what makes playing in a quartet so exciting. We have included some Adams, which is huge for us now, due to our new release of his complete string quartet works. We all sat down and listened to a daunting number of works before putting down our music on disc. Also, you will notice many of the works are for string quartet. It is what we know best, and also is what we really listen to in the car. We hope you enjoy a mix of sad, absurd, and exciting music we have put together.
John Adams - Road Movies: I. Relaxed Groove (Leila Josefowicz, violin)
Bela Bartok - String Quartet No. 5: II. Adagio Molto (Arcanto Quartet)
Gyorgi Ligeti - String Quartet No. 2: Come un Meccanismo di Precisione (Artemis Quartet)
Benjamin Britten - String Quartet No. 2, Op. 36: II. Vivace (Tokyo Quartet)
Alfred Schnittke - Collected Songs Where Every Verse is Filled With Grief (Kronos Quartet)
John Adams - Nixon in China: Act I, Scene I: News Has a Kind of Mystery (Orchestra of St. Lukes; Edo de Waart, conductor)
Osvaldo Golijov - The Dreams and Prayers of Isaac the Blind: I. Agitato - Con Fuoco - Maestoso - Senza Misura, Oscillante (St. Lawrence Quartet; Todd Palmer, clarinet)
Henri Dutilleux - Ainsi la nuit: VII. Temps suspendu (Arcanto Quartet)
Jeff Beal - Interchange: III. I Solisti (Turtle Island String Quartet)
Bela Bartok - String Quartet No. 4: II. Prestissimo, con sordino (Zehetmair Quartet)
George Crumb - Black Angel: VI. Pavana Lachrymae - Der Tod und das Madchen (Miro Quartet)
John Adams - El Nino: Shake the Heavens (Kent Nagano, conductor; German Symphony Orchestra, Theatre of Voices)
Elvis Costello & The Brodsky Quartet - The Juliet Letters: Swine (Elvis Costello; The Brodsky Quartet)