Afiş /Poster
Afişul festivalului

Sâmbătă, 23 Mai / Saturday, 23 May

19.00 / 7.00 pm - Universitatea Naţională de Muzică Bucureşti / National University of Music Bucharest, Sala „George Enescu” / George Enescu Hall
Cvartetul de coarde EXCELSIOR / EXCELSIOR String Quartet
Japonia / Japan
Yuka Nishino, vioară / violin, Momoko Yamada, vioară / violin, Yukiko Yoshida, violă / viola, Hajime Otomo, violoncel / cello

Program / Programme:
Hiroyuki Itoh – String Quartet (p.a.r.) / (Romanian Premiere)
Toru Takemitsu – A Way a Lone (p.a.r.) / (Romanian Premiere)
- pauză / intermission -
Pascal Bentoiu – String Quartet No3
Jonathan Harvey – String Quartet No2

Concert realizat cu sprijinul oferit de / Concert supported by: The Agency for Cultural Affairs - Government of Japan, Rohm Music Foundation, The Kao Foundation for Arts and Sciences, The Nomura Cultural Foundation, The Asahi Shimbun Foundation, Marea Lojă Naţională din România - Lojele din Orientul Baia Mare / The Grand National Lodge of Romania - The Lodges from East Baia Mare.

EXCELSIOR String QuartetExcelsior String
The most active, and almost the only touring permanent group of string quartet in Japan, Quartet Excelsior (Yuka Nishino – vn, Momoko Yamada – vn, Yukiko Yoshida – va, Hajime Otomo – vc) has entered the 15th year of their career as ”string quartet”. Their international career is closely related to their mission to introduce the contemporary music of Japan.
Quartet Excelsior is indispensable at any concerts of the contemporary music; they frequently perform at the ”Composition in Japan – Steps toward the 21st Century” series at Kioi Hall, the International Society for Contemporary Music’s ”World Music Days”, the Japan Federation of Composers Inc.’s ”Asia Music Festival in Tokyo”, and the ”Second East Asia International Contemporary Music Festival”. Their entrepreneurial spirits drive themselves to run the regular concert series both in Tokyo and Kyoto, and also abroad. With three concerts every year, they cover both traditional and less-known masterpieces to enhance and widen audience’s interests in this genre of string quartets. In 1996 they won the first prize at the Tokyo Chamber Music Competition and the second prize at the Second Osaka International Chamber Music Competition. In 2000, they won the second prize (with no first prize given) at Premio Paolo Borciani International String Quartet Competition, Reggio Emilia, Italy, and also received the Salvatore Sciarrino Special Prize.
Quartet Excelsior official website: (Japanese only)

Composers and Programme Notes

Toru Takemitsu
was born in Tokyo on 8 October 1930. He began to study composition with Yasuji Kiyose in 1948, though he remained basically self-taught. His composing debut came at the age of twenty with the piano piece "Lento in due movimenti". In 1951, together with other composers and artists from the most divergent disciplines, he founded the "Experimental
Workshop", a mixed-media group which soon became known for its avant-garde multi-media activities. Takemitsu first gained public recognition as a composer in the late fifties, with his Requiem for strings (1957). His interest in different artistic fields and his self-taught status deeply influenced his avant-garde style. He was using tape recorders to create musical collages out of "real" sounds. Takemitsu’s music is influenced by traditional Japanese music and nature,
Schönberg and Berg’s music, Debussy’s style of composition. Takemitsu was also very receptive towards other music as jazz, chanson or pop tunes. He lectured on composition at the Yale University and was also invited by universities in the USA, Canada and Australia as a lecturer or composer-in-residence. He was awarded many honors and prizes, for example the UNESCO-IMC Music Prize in 1991 and the University of Louisville Grawemeyer Award for Music Composition in 1994 for Fantasma/Cantos. Takemitsu died in Tokyo on 20 February 1996.

A Way a Lone (1981)
The title, A Way a Lone, is taken from a passage in Finnegans Wake by James Joyce, which reads as follows: ”The keys to. Given! A way a lone a last a long the” (FW628). As in Far calls. Coming, far! for violin and orchestra, this work is governed by the three keys found in the word ”Sea” (Eb, E, A). It was commissioned by the Tokyo Quartet on the occasion of its 10th anniversary and premiered at Carnegie Hall in February, 1981.

Toru Takemitsu

Hiroyuki Itoh (b. Sakata, Japan, 1963) received his Ph.D. in music from the University of California, San Diego in 1994. He studied composition with Joji Yuasa, Shin-ichiro Ikebe, Brian Ferneyhough, and Roger Reynolds. His awards include the first prize at the Nuove Sincronie International Composition Competition (1995), a Stipendienpreis at the Darmstadt Ferienkurse (1996), and the Akutagawa Composition Award for Orchestral Music, one of the most prestigious composition awards in Japan (1998). He has been commissioned by the Suntory Music Foundation, the Akiyoshidai Festival, the Yokohama Culture Foundation, the Klangspuren Festival, the Festival Ruemlingen, the Museum of Modern Art Saitama, the Izumi & Kioi Halls, and Music from Japan, among others. His works have been performed at major festivals such as Darmstadt, Gaudeamus, ISCM World Music Days (2000 in Luxembourg & 2004 in Switzerland), Klangspuren, June in Buffalo, Akiyoshidai, and Takefu, by orchestras and ensembles such as the New Japan Philharmonic, Tokyo City Philharmonic Orchestra, Kanagawa Philharmonic Orchestra, Izumi Sinfonietta Osaka, Art Respirant, Nieuw Ensemble, Klangforum Wien, and the Arditti String Quartet. His work has been published by the Japan Federation of Composers Inc. and Ricordi, and recorded on Einstein Records (New York), MusicScape (Tokyo), and ALM Records (Tokyo). In 2006 his portrait CD was released on MusicScape. Itoh currently lives in Tokyo.

I have been consistently concerned with the "swaying sensation" and "fragile beauty" in my work for the past ten years or so. Swaying, trembling, wavering, shimmering, or flickering images of trees, water, fire, lights, shadows, mythological creature, and so on, inspire me as I start a new piece. These images trigger concrete sonic images and let my music breathe. They also compel me to gaze deeply into our existence and listen to our inner voices. As in many other works of mine, quarter-tone pitches are used extensively throughout String Quartet. In terms of fragility, String Quartet has probably reached the furthest extreme in my entire oeuvre so far. String Quartet, commissioned by the Takefu International Composition Workshop, was premiered by the Arditti Quartet in 2002 in Takefu, Japan. The work was later selected at the ISCM World New Music Days 2004 in Switzerland, and performed by the same quartet.

Hiroyuki Itoh

Pascal Bentoiu (b. 1927) studied harmony, counterpoint and composition with Mihail Jora. His instrumental and orchestral works contain a variety of contemporary techniques, and Bentoiu's work is characterized by its color and lyricism. Pascal Bentoiu has dedicated a great part of his creative potential to the musical theatre, writing three important works: Love Doctor (after Moliere), Iphigenia’s Sacrifice (after Euripide) and Hamlet (after Shakeaspeare). He has written many Symphonies, among them nr 6 ”Colours”, nr 7 ”Volumes” and nr 8 ”Images” are related to the concept of ”sister arts”, painting, sculpture, poetry. Am important phase of his artistic research consists of deciphering Enescu’s scores and continuing their orchestrations in the spirit of the great composer. Bentoiu has written three important books, the themes of which combine issues of aesthetics and composition: ”Image and Sense”, ”Opening to the World of Music” and ”Musical Thought”. Among Bentoiu’s awards: ”Guido Valcarenghi” of Ricordi Publishing house, Romanian Academy’s prize, Grand Award of the Romanian Union of Composers and Musicologists.

String Quartett No 3-op 27A
Written on a modal scale with 14 pitches, this quartett belongs to a group of four works connected to the four fundamental psychical categories defined by Carl Gustav Young – the famous Swiss psychologist, follower and opponent of Sygmund Freud. The categories are: the sensation, the feeling, the judgment and the intuition. The three movements of ”sensation’s quartett no. 3” are imagined by their creator as contingent with the tactile sense, with sightseeing and hearing, in this order. Obviously, this work can be listened without any previous ideea or suggestion, as ”pure” music. The initial mode will be transposed, inverted, fragmented etc. It offers numerous musical possibilities.

Pascal Bentoiu (English translation Irina Stănescu)

Jonathan HarveyJonathan Harvey
Born in Warwickshire in 1939, Jonathan Harvey was a chorister at St Michael’s College, Tenbury and later a major music scholar at St John’s College, Cambridge. He gained doctorates from the universities of Glasgow and Cambridge and (on the advice of Benjamin Britten) also studied privately with Erwin Stein and Hans Keller. He was a Harkness Fellow at Princeton (1969–70). An invitation from Boulez to work at IRCAM in the early 1980s has so far resulted in eight realisations at the Institute, and two for the Ensemble Intercontemporain, including the celebrated tape piece Mortuos Plango, Vivos Voco, Bhakti for ensemble and electronics, Advaya for cello, live electronics and pre-recorded sounds and String Quartet No.4, with live electronics. Harvey has also composed for most other genres: orchestra (Tranquil Abiding, White as Jasmine and Madonna of Winter and Spring – the latter performed by the Berliner Philharmoniker and Simon Rattle in 2006), chamber (four string quartets, Soleil Noir/Chitra, and Death of Light, Light of Death, for instance) as well as works for solo instruments. He has written many widely-performed unaccompanied works for choir – as well as the large-scale cantata for the BBC Proms Millennium, Mothers shall not Cry (2000). His church opera Passion and Resurrection (l981) was the subject of a BBC television film, and has received twelve subsequent performances. His opera Inquest of Love, commissioned by ENO, was premiered under the baton of Mark Elder in 1993 and repeated at Theatre de la Monnaie, Brussels in 1994. His third opera, Wagner Dream, commissioned by Nederlandse Oper in association with the Grand Théâtre de Luxembourg, the Holland Festival and IRCAM, was premiered to great acclaim in 2007. 2008 saw the premiere of Messages (for the Rundfunkchor Berlin and the Berlin Philharmoniker) and Speakings (co-commission with BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, IRCAM and Radio France); Speakings was the culmination of his residency (2005-8) with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra from which Body Mandala and …Towards a pure land have also emerged. All three works featured on the Gramophone Award-winning NMC disc released in the same year. In October the ISCM in Vilnius featured Harvey with a new Cello Octet and several other works. Harvey is now in constant demand from a host of international organisations, attracting commissions far into the future, and his music is extensively played and toured by the major ensembles of our time (Musikfabrik, Ensemble Modern, Ensemble Intercontemporain, ASKO, Nieuw Ensemble of Amsterdam and Ictus Ensemble of Brussels to name but a few). His music has been showcased at Strasbourg Musica, Ars Musica Brussels, Musica Nova Helsinki, the Acanthes and Agora festivals, and at many centres for contemporary music. Some 150-200 performances are given or broadcast each year and about 80 recordings of his music are available on CD. He has honorary doctorates from the universities of Southampton, Sussex, Bristol and Huddersfield, is a Member of Academia Europaea, and in 1993 was awarded the prestigious Britten Award for composition. In 2007 he was awarded the Giga-Hertz Prize for a lifetime’s work in electronic music. He published two books in 1999, on inspiration and spirituality respectively. Arnold Whittall’s study of his music appeared in 1999, published by Faber & Faber (and in French by IRCAM) in the same year. Two years later John Palmer published a substantial study: ”Jonathan Harvey’s Bhakti” Edwin Mellen Press. Harvey was Professor of Music at Sussex University between 1977 and 1993 where he is currently an Honorary Professor. He was Professor of Music at Stanford University (US) between 1995 and 2000, Visiting Professor of Music at Imperial College, London and is an Honorary Fellow of St. John’s College, Cambridge. Harvey was Composer-in-Association with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra from 2005-2008.

© Faber Music Ltd 2008

String Quartett No 2 (1988)explores the interaction between melodic unanimity and its diffraction, a process whose spiritual analogy [...] is an ultimate dissolution of tension, a move from action and retrospection, in which innocence can be recollected, if not literally recreated. There are many subtly varied aspects to this process, within a structure that the composer divides into three main sections. The first section unfolds an extended, sustained melodic line, shared between the instruments and with certain phrases hightlighted by being played by two instruments in unison. The melody is counterpointed by more febrile materiall, as in the violin’s flickering decoration of the opening cello phrase, and this counterpoint generates the energy that moves the music towards the second section. Marked ”calm”, this is predominantly chordal, and uses many inflections, both of pitch (quarter-notes) and of tone colour (markings include ”cold”, ”cool”, ”warm”, ”hot”, as well as passages to be characterized with either feminine or masculine qualities). The third and final section re-establishes the dominance of melody in a contrapunctal context, with an extended cello line – often in a very high register – offset by more active thematic elements, which Harvey refer to as ”rising fugal writing”, in the other instrument. In a coda the quartet dissolves a shared melody into chords which themselves fragment into whispering reiterations, floating beyond audibility.

From the booklet of the CD Montaigne MO 782034 by Arnold Whittall