Live on ‘In Tune’ last Thursday, the Solems performed excerpts from two of the new works commissioned as part of their ‘Beethoven Bartók Now’ project: David John Roche’s A Prayer at the Edge of Silence (part of BBN 3: Pioneers) and Ayanna Witter-Johnson’s Island Suite (part of BBN 4: Experiments), for which the quartet are joined by Ayanna herself on cello and vocals. They also performed an excerpt from Bartók’s Third Quartet and spoke to Sean Rafferty in more detail about their BBN project as a whole.
Click here to listen again to their ‘In Tune’ appearance, with the Solem Quartet featuring at 02:39 (including music by David John Roche), and then again at 31:59 (including music by Bartók and Ayanna Witter-Johnson).
Having premiered Island Suite at Wigmore Hall in May alongside multi-talented composer-singer-cellist-narrator Ayanna Witter-Johnson, the Solems look forward to premiering the whole ‘BBN 4: Experiments’ programme with Ayanna this week, at 7:30pm on Wednesday 20th July, at Wilton’s Music Hall in London.
Laced together via the words of the archetypal experimenters, Bartók and Beethoven, in which they describe the thinking behind their respective ground breaking masterpieces, the Solem Quartet perform Beethoven’s Grosse Fugue – described by Stravinsky as ‘music that will be contemporary forever’ – and Bartók’s Third Quartet, which sees the composer finding his true voice, channelling the Eastern-European folk music he so loved. The Quartet will then be joined by Ayanna Witter-Johnson to perform her specially composed ‘Island Suite’, a musical and narrative journey which takes inspiration from Jamaican folk song to create a work that defies genre, and tells the story of Ayanna Witter-Johnson’s ancestry.
Tickets for the concert are on sale via the Wilton’s website.