Analysis Of The Brooklyn Rider Almanac

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The string quartet is often thought of in the context of the traditional classical and romantic repertoire, however, that is not the realm of the contemporary string quartet Brooklyn Rider. As Kate Botello of Interlochen Public Radio states, “Brooklyn Rider takes the idea of the string quartet to a new level. Already champions of new music and fresh approaches, the Brooklyn, NY-based group stretch the boundaries of the classic quartet, adding unusual instruments and other forms of art to the mix.” This was clearly the case in the recent concert that Brooklyn Rider preformed as a part of the University of South Carolina’s Southern Exposure series. Featuring a wide variety of styles from an incredibly diverse group of composers, Brooklyn…show more content…
This work is directly inspired by Der Blaue Reiter Almanach. Primarily a work of prose, it consisted of plays, essays by leading artists and musicians detailing works of the era, and commentary on art, music, theater, and related subjects. The Brooklyn Rider Almanac is conceptually a modern recreation of this idea in music, in that musicians are providing a commentary of artists or their work through their music. In a way, The Brooklyn Rider Almanac approaches the idea of cross-disciplinary art from an opposite prospective as the Onomatopoetic Project. Many of the works presented during the concert as a part of The Brooklyn Rider Almanac were inspired by looking an artistic muse or idea as an inspiration to create music that reflects the muse. Artists from classically trained composers to jazz and rock musicians contributed to this collection of works, and the results are both fascinating and inspiring. One great example of this is Necessary…Henry by Albanian Cellist Rubin Kodheli. Inspired by the jazz musician Henry Threadgill, this work incorporates the styles of rock musicians like Jimi Hendrix into and what could be perceived as the farthest possible medium from rock: the string quartet. Like Threadgill’s earlier use of non-jazz instrumentation and ideas in jazz works, Kodheli uses sounds from the rock genre like virtuosic guitar-like riffs, rock groves, and highly…show more content…
However, the most fitting work with the concert theme may be Philip Glass’s String Quartet No. 2. This work is often entitled Company and was originally intended for an adaptation of Samuel Beckett’s prose poem entitled Company. This cross-disciplinary collaboration resulted in Glass extracting material from the theatre score and making it a four movement concert work that could stand alone. This 1983 minimalist work is clearly characteristic of Glass’s style in the repeating arpeggios, harmonic language, and his recognizable rhythmic structure. However, the most important aspect of the work in relationship to the other music on the concert may be its inspiration. While Beckett’s work was the inspiration for the Glass’s music, Beckett was also a collaborator in the creation of the staged work. Like the works of The Brooklyn Rider Almanac, Der Blaue Reiter Almanach, and The Onomatopoetic Project, Philip Glass’s String Quartet No. 2 provides a unique prospective on art through a different medium. This concert is a wonderful example of how music, the visual arts, theatre, and literature can all be used to comment on and inspire one another by simply looking at art through the prospective of all forms of
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