The String Quartet No. 3 “at anchor“ by Johannes X. Schachtner to premiere in Munich
Johannes X Schachtner has presented three string quartets to date. His first compositional encounter with this challenging genre took place in 2008, while still a student. He composed a one-movement quartet, for the violinist Julia Fischer, in which the tone "a" is the point of departure, escape and rest, and returns ritornello-like, with jocular episodes in between. After its premiere, the quartet was dubbed "alpha". The 2nd string quartet "quasi una serenata" followed in 2015.
Even in his most recent contribution to the genre, String Quartet No. 3 "at anchor", Schachtner has not abandoned his preference for subtitles. The new work will be premiered by the Zentaur Quartet in Munich on April 20, 2020.
The composer explains his relationship to the string quartet genre and the reasoning behind the subtitle of String Quartet No. 3 "at anchor" as follows:
“A particular challenge for the string quartet are the two violins: after overcoming the classical-romantic compositional technique, these forces of attraction have been lost, and tonal individuality takes the foreground - so after my first string quartet, the two string trios that followed were very instructive in this development process. I chose a special arrangement for my second string quartet: the second violin is tuned down by a quarter tone throughout, which gives it a special role. All four movements of the 'quasi una serenata' quartet refer to a movement form that determines the character of the movement.
The expressive spectrum ranges from the dancing first movement ('floating') to the gripping second movement ('rigid') and the almost morbid vocal movement ('hesitant') - due to the scordatura of the second violin - to the spherical last movement ('dreaming'), which concludes the work in seemingly reconciliatory manner through the 'cello serenade' accompanied by the high strings.
Immediately afterwards, reconciled with the quartet, a third string quartet entitled 'vor Anker' (at anchor) was composed, which bears a close relationship to 'pacifico' - the piano hymn for four hands. When a ship lies 'at anchor', the ship is in a state between freedom at sea and safety in port. One experiences the forces of the water but is not directly exposed to them. This floating state is the starting point of my string quartet 'at anchor', in which Franz Schubert's 'sea silence' is invoked again and again.”
Photo: (c) Dora Drexel
UA Johannes X. Schachtner,
String quartet Nr. 3 “at anchor”