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MORAVIAN HEARTACHE AND MICROTONES: Music of Janáček, Hába, and Bettendorf

  • Bohemian National Hall 321 E 73rd St New York, NY 10021 (map)
Momenta Quartet, Photo by John Gurrin

Momenta Quartet, Photo by John Gurrin

Composer Carl Bettendorf and the Momenta Quartet present a program of string quartets focusing on two great Czech modernists, Leoš Janáček and Alois Hába, plus a contemporary work by Bettendorf.  Both earlier composers were inspired by folk music of their native Moravian region and became influential figures in the musical avant-garde of the early to mid-20th century. While Janáček achieved international fame, Hába died in relative obscurity due to Communist suppression of his pioneering microtonal compositions.  Bettendorf’s work also uses microtones, at the same time connecting personally with Janáček’s featured offering, String Quartet No. 2, “Intimate Letters,” in the expression of love's heartaches.  The compositions will be introduced and discussed by the musicians and composer.

Program:

Alois Hába: String Quartet No. 6, Op. 70 (1950)

Carl C. Bettendorf: Il y a l'Océan for string quartet (2005, rev. 2007)

Leoš Janáček: String Quartet No. 2, “Intimate Letters” (1928)

Momenta Quartet:

Emilie-Anne Gendron & Alex Shiozaki, violins

Stephanie Griffin, viola

Michael Haas, cello

Formed in 2004, the Momenta Quartet served as artist-in-residence at Temple University, which led to similar residencies at Cornell, Columbia, and Yeshiva universities, Boston and Cincinnati conservatories, and Eastman School of Music. The quartet has won two major commissioning grants from the Koussevitzky Foundation for Malaysian composer Kee Yong Chong and Bolivian composer Agustín Fernández. Momenta has appeared at such prestigious venues as the Library of Congress, National Gallery of Art and the Smithsonian’s Freer Gallery, and has performed at the internationally renowned Cervantino Festival in Mexico and Ostrava New Music Days in the Czech Republic. The quartet’s debut album, Similar Motion, is available on Albany Records.

Composer Carl Bettendorf

Composer Carl Bettendorf

Carl Christian Bettendorf is a New York-based composer/conductor. Born in Hamburg, Germany, he studied composition with Hans-Jürgen von Bose and Wolfgang Rihm before receiving his doctorate from Columbia University under Tristan Murail. His compositions have been played at many prestigious venues and festivals on four continents. He has received numerous awards, among them residencies at the Cité des Arts (Paris) and the MacDowell Colony as well as commissions from the Fromm Foundation and the Ralph Kaminsky Fund. As a conductor, Mr. Bettendorf has worked with ensembles in New York (Wet Ink,counter) induction; Ghost and Talea ensembles) and abroad (piano possibile in Munich, Ostravská banda in the Czech Republic) and is currently director of the Manhattanville College Community Orchestra (Purchase, NY). He recently conducted opera productions at Bard College and the Opéra national de Montpellier (France) and has served as assistant conductor of the Columbia University and American Composers orchestras. He has recorded for Albany, ArtVoice, Carrier, Cybele, Hat Hut, Indexical, and Tzadik.