piano and string quartet
Although Schafer was 80 yearsold when he wrote this quintet, the three-movement work is highly vigorous and rhythmic. From the outset, rapid passages follow one another on all instruments. The first movement is averitable fireworks display featuring irregular rhythmic play and tremendous energy. It even features the syncopated milonga rhythm (3+3+2). The magnificent slow movement features a simple, very vocal theme representing a dialogue between the two violins. Several more moving and even comical episodes endeavour to take the movement in an entirely different direction, but the theme, sometimes coloured with magical overtones, returns to calm the ardour. The 3rd movement is rondo-form with a very playful chorus. As is his custom, Schafer surprises us in the finale, this time with an episode of improvised jazz on viola and cello backed by piano chords. In this work those familiar with Schafer’s quartets will recognize some elements taken from other quartets, such as the Tapio theme from the 6th and 7th quartets and the rapidly ascending and descending scales characteristic of the 12th quartet.
Friday, February 19 – Sunday, August 15, 2021