Perera String Quartet Premieres at South Mountain
Chamber music lovers enjoyed a lovely late-summer afternoon in the Berkshires when the Muir String Quartet presented, along with quartets by Haydn and Brahms, a new String Quartet, commissioned by South Mountain Concerts, by Massachusetts composer Ronald Perera.
Perhaps best known for his vocal works (including the three operas The Yellow Wallpaper, S., and The Araboolies of Liberty Street), Perera proved himself an adroit and imaginative instrumental composer as well. His quartet, a three-movement composition, shows a wide range of not only musical craft but also emotional palette. The first movement keeps the listener guessing and bows subtilely to Bartok; the middle movement a set of variations on a mandolin tune; and the finale a romping rondo that brings the work to a rollicking conclusion.
About the mandolin tune movement, described by the composer as "an homage to my grandfather, Gino L. Perera, an Italian musician and painter whose early career as a classical mandolinist took him to many American cities in the 1890s", The [Springfield, MA] Republican's Clifton J. Noble Jr. wrote: "Perera drew this simple, charming G major theme through successive variations of increasing complexity, at first merely decorous and elegant, but gradually clouded by rhythmic and chordal complications until a clever fugue brought round its cheery restatement and gentle final cadence."
The score and parts to the String Quartet are published by Pear Tree Music.
Click here for a Feature Story on the remarkable history of South Mountain Concerts.