This exciting and unusual concert by the Pacifica Quartet is West Cork Music’s contribution to Culture Night. It is also the last concert in our Virtual Chamber Music Festival. The Pacifica is one of the major international string quartets playing today and when you see tonight’s film you will immediately see the extraordinary effort they have made for this special performance.
The centenary of all women’s right to vote is an important milestone, but it is also significant that most of you will not be familiar with the music of these five composers. Just as women’s right to vote had to be fought for, so have women composers struggled to make their mark and those that succeeded against the odds should be honoured.
Of the five composers featured Fanny Mendelssohn is undoubtedly the best known on account of her famous brother, who was far from supportive of her composition career despite often benefitting from her advice. The spectacular Finale of her Quartet is as good as anything he wrote.
Amy Beach built a solid career despite being almost entirely self-taught. Her husband insisted she give up her career as a concert pianist, so instead she became a prolific and popular composer.
Ruth Crawford Seeger and Florence Price both faced almost insuperable obstacles, Seeger’s career cut short by marriage and family, while Price, as a woman of colour, had her work stifled by racism. In contrast Jennifer Higdon is one of the most performed living American composers with a four-year waiting list for commissions. Her ‘Voices’ quartet was written for the Pacifica, who play it terrifically, note especially the delicious transitions between the movements.