This Sunday afternoon, the Winter Series of Music@Menlo comes to an end with a concert by violinist Alexander Sikovetsky, cellist Mihai Marica, pianist Wu Qian, and clarinetist David Shifrin. They’ll play two works written for that combination: Olivier Messiaen’s Quartet for the End of Time, and a brand new commission by composer Andy Akiho called Lost on Chiaroscuro Street. Ravel’s Piano Trio in A minor is also on the program.
There’s more information about the concert at the Music@Menlo website.
Akiho, who won the 2014-15 Luciano Berio Rome Prize, says the work that he was commissioned to pair his piece with was very important in his development. “I have a different sound world, but I’m very influenced by a lot of techniques that Messiaen used. And I’ve just always been inspired by his music, especially that piece. That was one of the earliest pieces for me to really get me into 20th Century music, and even inspire me to become a composer. Along with other influences, but that was definitely a major one. That’s what really excited me about this project – was that instrumentation. For a lot of reasons, the Messaien Quartet for the End of Time, that that instrumentation is modeled after is one of my favorite pieces ever written.” The work’s title, Lost on Chiaroscuro Street goes back his residency in Rome. “A lot of times I struggle with titles – I don’t want to force it too much, the title can be a challenge sometimes, but it references Chiaroscuro, the painting technique I got really inspired by when I was living in Rome. I saw the Caravaggios in Rome and it was the first time I’ve seen something like that up close. It was just a point of inspiration, and then I just tried to be me in the music, and kind of write some contrasting sections of light and dark.”