four November concerts, 10 planned for spring

What’s next for DaPonte String Quartet?

Wed, 10/02/2019 - 3:45pm

    If you’ve never worked closely with a music group, you might not be able to imagine all of the discussions, decisions and considerations that have to be pondered when thinking about a series of concerts. Recently, I have had the great pleasure of working with the DaPonte String Quartet as they choose the music they will play for the next few months.

    They discussed guest artists, they discussed composers, they discussed eras and periods, they discussed audience reactions and expectations, marketing implications, and time of year.  They discussed emotional journeys and the composers’ intentions. They had fun playing with words to accompany the music in the form of program notes and series titles, they had fun exploring which new works to undertake, and they had fun remembering a favorite piece that will take the spotlight again.

    The entire process is filled with joy and eager anticipation. It continues to amaze me as I watch this quartet work together, what an incredible group they are. They have been together for many years, and they have been through many things together. They work as a cohesive whole, moving in tandem and thinking as a group. This is never four separate entities fighting for a specific point of view or a dominant voice. All these decisions, everything that had to be considered, eventually came together with one clear direction. And that direction presents you with a wonder-filled lineup to enjoy from now through spring of 2020.


    First up is our November series, “All A-Twitter”, which features Beethoven’s Op.132.  Many of you may remember this piece from our recent CD, Pathways to Healing. This piece has been called a haunting treasure, and it is one of the string quartets composed by Beethoven late in his life.  He had been deaf for many years and some people speculate that the music of his inner ideas was even stronger during this late period.  Also up on the November program are Haydn’s masterpiece - Op. 33, (nicknamed “The Bird”), which features bird-like tone painting and gypsy influences.  Sculthorpe’s String Quartet No. 8 with its thrilling Asian influences will close out these concerts.   The comfortable balance in this program that the DaPonte String Quartet chose is sure to peak your interest and perhaps introduce you to a piece that you have not yet heard the DSQ perform.

    March brings our tribute to Maine’s Bicentennial. “Maine’s 200th: Music of Early Maine” includes pieces collected into a program which is designed to give us a taste of the influences that are our early heritage. We are joined by guest artist Eric LaPerna, percussion, for what is shaping up to be an amazing concert. 

    When we learned about the notated songs of Membertou (c. early 1500s-1611), a major shaman-chief of the Mi’kmaq nation, the idea for this program began to percolate. What diversity of music might there have been as so many different peoples explored, fished, and colonized Maine’s rocky coast and European influences began to permeate the land?  Fragments of elegant china, unearthed at archaeological sites such as Fort Pemaquid, illustrate how some European newcomers insisted upon bringing a few familiar comforts of home. Music would most certainly have been such a comfort. But we have only a scant trace of documented music from northeastern North America in this early period, making the written record of Membertou’s songs, and one young colonial bachelor’s dance book found in Topsham, so valuable.

    We know that music played a vital role in indigenous communities, that European sailors sang chanteys to accompany their work, and that all communities blessed their watercraft with traditional music. Noblemen and naval captains would likely have heard the latest music played in the grand houses of Europe. French Jesuit missionaries brought their musical liturgy and passed it on to new generations of Catholics. Publications of the latest English dance tunes sold like hotcakes when they arrived in Boston in the 18th century. But aside from such generalities, we can only speculate about what music might have been in the air, crossing the seas, “earworms” perhaps, of the people who lived in what we now call Maine so many generations ago. This program highlights significant events along Maine’s pre-statehood timeline (from the 16th to the early 19th centuries), with selected music to share some of the cultural influences. We hope you will enjoy hearing the enormous musical evolution wrought by such diversity and social change.

    Spring 2020 brings us to “Heartbreak Hotel” and songs of love stories with a broken twist.  For this intriguing concert series, we will be joined by guest artist Emily Birsan, soprano. A selection of Renanissance songs will be followed by Bartok’s String Quartet No. 1, finishing with Schoenberg’s Op. 10.  Bartok’s first String Quartet is suffused with the yearning and passion of unrequited love.  Schoenberg’s Quartet has the soprano plunge from her highest register to her lowest, amidst the words “kill this longing, close the wound! Take this love from me, give me thy peace”.  Indeed your heart will check in but will not check out with this concert!

    Join us in November, March and May for what is sure to be an amazing set of concerts by the DaPonte String Quartet!




    November - “All A-Twitter”

         Brunswick UU Church Sunday, Nov 3, at 2pm

         Newcastle - St. Patrick’s Church - Sunday, Nov 10, at 3pm

         Portland  - Maine Jewish Museum  - Thursday, Nov 14, at 7pm

         Rockport Opera House - Saturday, Nov. 23, at 2pm


    March/April: “Maine’s 200th: Music of Early Maine”

         Brunswick UU Church - Sunday, Mar 8, at 2pm

         Newcastle - St. Patrick’s Church - Sunday, Mar 15, at 3pm

         Portland  - Maine Jewish Museum - Thursday, Mar 19, at 7pm

         Rockport Opera House - Saturday, Mar 21, at 2pm

         Belfast Library - Sunday, Mar 29, at 2pm

         Farnsworth - Thursday, April 23, at 2pm


    May: “Heartbreak Hotel”

        Brunswick UU Church - Sunday, May 3, at 2pm

        Portland  - Maine Jewish Museum-  Wednesday, May 6, at 7pm

        Rockport - Saturday, May 9, at 2pm

        Newcastle - St. Patrick’s church - Sunday, May 10, at 3pm




    November - “All A-Twitter” 


    Franz Josef Haydn (1732-1809): String Quartet Op. 33 No. 3 (“The Bird”)

    Allegro moderato

    Scherzo: Allegretto

    Adagio ma non troppo

    Finale: Rondo – Presto


    Peter Sculthorpe (1929-2014) String Quartet No. 8 (1969)

    Con dolore

    Risoluto; calmo

    Con dolore

    Con precisione

    Con dolore


    Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827): String Quartet in A Minor, Op. 132 (1825)

    Assai sostenuto – Allegro

    Allegro ma non tanto

    Molto adagio

    Alla marcia, assai vivace

    Allegro appassionato 



    March/April - “Maine’s 200th: Music of Early Maine”

    With Guest Artist, Eric LaPerna, percussion


    Songs of Chief Membertou - 

    Trad. Mi’kmaq

    transcribed by Marc Lescarbot (1606/7)

    arr. by Gabriel Sagard Theodat.



    Trad. Basque tune

    arr. by Ferdinand Liva


    Imperii proceres

    Heinrich Isaac (c.1450 - 1517)


    Four Songs from Canconiero de Palacio  

    Juan del Encina (c.1468 - d.1529/30)

    Todo los bienes

    Más vale trocar

    Levanta, Pascual

    Hoy comamuos y bebamos


    Sir Walter Raleigh’s Galliard   

    attr. to Francis Cutting (1550-1603)


    A Sad Pavane for these distracted times   

    Thomas Tomkins (1572-1656)  

    arr. by David Byers


    Les Bergers et Les Ameriquaines from Concert Donné à Louis XIII en 1627 par les 24 Violons et les 12 Grand Hautbois

    Anon., arr. by Kirsten Monke


    Ballo del granduca  

    Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck (1562-1621)


    Concert pour Quatre Parties de Violes 

    Marc-Antoine Charpentier (1643-1704)


    Sarabande, Rondeau

    Gigue anglaise

    Gigue française



    The Birks of Abergeldie from Henry Playford’s Original Scottish Tunes 

    Anon., (1700)


    “Little Ben” A Country Dance from Heinrich Isaac (c.1450 - 1517) 

    Arr. by Myles Jordan


    Prelude from Te Deum

    Marc-Antoine Charpentier (1643-1704)



    May: “Heartbreak Hotel”

    With Guest Artist, Emily Birsan, soprano


    A Selection of Renaissance Songs w/ Emily Birsan, Soprano


    Béla Bartók (1881-1945): String Quartet No. 1, Sz. 40 (1909)



    Allegro vivace



    Arnold Schoenberg (1874-1951): String Quartet, Op. 10 (1908) w/ Emily Birsan, Soprano


    Sehr rasch

    "Litanei", langsam

    "Entrückung", sehr langsam