Friday, February 10, 2017
Moravian College, Foy Concert Hall
- Mozart Adagio and Fugure in E Major K. 405/3 after J.S. Bach BWV 878
- Mozart String Quartet No. 17 in B-flat Major, K. 458 “The Hunt”
- Jorg Widmann String Quartet No. 3 “Jagdquartett (Hunt Quartet)” (2003)
- Beethoven String Quartet No. 9 in C Major, Op. 59 No. 3
The Signum Quartet dates from 1994, when its founders—its current violinist and cellist—formed the ensemble as teenagers, both already a decade into the mastery of their instruments. Three members are German; the violist is from South Africa. Each boasts impressive individual credentials of musical education, competition, and collaboration. Together they have performed widely across Europe, less so in the United States until recently. An American foray in 2013 took them to Boston and Santa Fe. In 2015 and 2016, they came to New York City and, most interestingly, performed in Princeton, where they launched the #quartweet project with the Princeton Symphony Orchestra in October 2015. On its website, Signum invites “quartweeters”—composers of any age, ability, or level of renown—to tweet 140-note (or less) quartets to be considered for performance. The #quartweets are electronically broadcast on Periscope and YouTube and regularly performed at concerts (including the Bethlehem engagement) by the ensemble.
As might be expected of such innovators, the Signum Quartet works closely with contemporary composers of even longer compositions, yet the traditional repertoire is hardly neglected, as the Bethlehem program and the group’s discography indicate. The Strad reviewer of Signum’s latest recording—alla czeca— describes the playing as “both clean in its clarity of ensemble and interpretatively full of freshness and life, and its ebullience of spirit in the exhilarating finale is infectious.” Winner of the German Music Competition, Premio Paolo Borciani, and London International String Quartet Competition, the Signum Quartet received the International Classical Music Awards 2014 “Best Chamber Music Recording” for its 2013 release No. 3.