Small curtis Webern: Langsamer Satz for String Quartet

Performances | Aizuri Quartet, Violin / Miho Saegusa, Violin / Zoë Martin-Doike, Violin / Ayane Kozasa, Violin / Karen Ouzounian

Anton Webern’s Langsamer Satz was conceived as the composer hiked with Wilhelmine Mörtl, the woman who would later become his wife. Webern gushed about his experience in his diaries: “Our love rose to infinite heights and filled the Universe. Two souls were enraptured." The self-described love music he composed reflects this passionate inspiration, rising to wild heights at some times, and pulling back to quiet intimate moments at others. Translated literally as “slow movement,” Langsamer Satz is aptly titled. The music moves at a leisurely pace, and at about ten minutes in length, this early piece is one of Webern’s longest works. In contrast, his mature style is extremely economical in terms of musical ideas. Webern would become identified with short, tightly composed serial works, even when writing for large groups such as the symphony orchestra. But this brilliant student of Schoenberg wrote primarily tonal music in the early portion of his career. Langsamer Satz was composed just after Webern began his studies with Schoenberg, but before he fully embraced serialism. The exaggerated swells and chromatic harmony are typical of Romantic music around the turn of the century, reflecting the influence of composers such as Mahler and Wagner, and even evoking such early works of Schoenberg as Verklärte Nacht.

Anton (Friedrich Wilhelm Von) Webern

Langsamer Satz

Cello, Viola, and Violin

Recorded Date: 08-05-2015

Aizuri Quartet
Violin and Cello

Praised by the Philadelphia Inquirer as being “in full possession of that most elusive of string quartet qualities: the balance between charisma of the individual and cohesion of the collective,” the Aizuri Quartet is a top prizewinner in the 2015 Wigmore Hall International String Quartet Competition in London. Through its engaging and thought-provoking programs, the Aizuri Quartet has garnered critical acclaim for its explosive combination of depth, refinement and vigor.

Currently the String Quartet-in-Residence at the Curtis Institute of Music, the Aizuri Quartet appears in Curtis on Tourperformances throughout Europe, the United States and Latin America. Highlights of the 2015-2016 season include debut recitals at the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society, Schneider Concerts in New York City, Wolf Trap, and multiple appearances as the Ernst Stiefel String Quartet-in-Residence at the Caramoor Center for Music and the Arts. The Quartet will premiere works by composers Caroline Shaw, Paul Wiancko, Yevgeniy Sharlat and Rene Orth, in addition to collaborating with pianists Jonathan Biss and Ignat Solzhenitsyn, and clarinetist Michael Rusinek.

The Aizuri Quartet is passionate about creating diverse points of entry for audiences into the string quartet repertoire. As its 2015 resident ensemble, the Quartet works closely with Philadelphia’s Barnes Foundation to develop programs and commission new works that forge connections between music and visual art. The Quartet is featured throughout the Curtis-Coursera online course “The World of the String Quartet,” hosted by Arnold Steinhardt and reaching thousands of students from over a hundred countries. Additionally, the Quartet has performed in an eclectic array of venues throughout Philadelphia, including the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, World Café Live, and on WRTI’s musician-hosted radio special “Philadelphia Music Makers.”

Highlights of previous seasons include performances in Bremen, Dresden, Paris and Salzburg, at Boston’s Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum and New York City’s Morgan Library and Museum with cellist Peter Wiley, and throughout Chile, Costa Rica and Mexico with violist Roberto Díaz. The Quartet has enjoyed collaborations with eighth blackbird, the Aeolus String Quartet, poet Denice Frohman, composers Lembit Beecher and Andrew Lipke, and was the resident ensemble of the 2014 Ravinia Festival’s Steans Music Institute.

Formed in 2012 and comprising graduates of the Juilliard School and Curtis Institute of Music, the Aizuri Quartet draws its name from “aizuri-e,” a style of predominantly blue Japanese woodblock printing that is noted for its vibrancy and incredible detail. Members of the Quartet have appeared worldwide with a diverse range of ensembles including Musicians from Marlboro, Musicians from Ravinia’s Steans Music Institute, Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, A Far Cry, The Knights, IRIS Orchestra, the Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia, Opera Philadelphia, and counter)induction.

Miho Saegusa

Violinist Miho Saegusa enjoys an active career as a chamber musician, soloist, and orchestral player, and has performed throughout the United States and abroad. Her passion for chamber music has led to participation at the Marlboro Music Festival, Ravinia Steans Institute, Music@Menlo, Buck Hill-Skytop Festival, and Ohana Arts Festival. Miho has collaborated with world-renowned musicians Mitsuko Uchida, Richard Goode, Arnold Steinhardt, David Soyer, Kim Kashkashian, and Miriam Fried. Miho was appointed Concertmaster of the Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia in 2011, and is a member of IRIS Orchestra where she often leads as Concertmaster.In the 2013-2014 season she was featured as a soloist with both orchestras. She has also toured the U.S., Europe, and Japan with the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra. Miho received her Bachelor of Arts degree from Yale University, and completed graduate work at The Juilliard School, earning her Master of Music and Artist Diploma. Her principal teachers include Masao Kawasaki and Dorothy DeLay.

Zoë Martin-Doike

Violinist Zoë Martin-Doike from Honolulu, Hawaii is a recent graduate of the Curtis Institute of Music, where she studied with Pamela Frank. Zoë has been heard on the NPR shows “From the Top,” “A Prairie Home Companion,” and “What Makes It Great,” and has performed as a soloist with notable orchestras including the Honolulu Symphony, Richardson Symphony, Bloomington Symphony Orchestra, and the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra. She won first place in the Lennox International Young Artists Competition and the Music Teachers’ National Association senior string competition, and she has attended the Sarasota Music Festival, Norfolk Chamber Music Festival, and the Keshet Eilon Music Festival in Israel. Passionate about chamber music, Zoë has collaborated in chamber music performances with such artists as Atar Arad, Roberto Diaz, Jonathan Biss and Gilles Apap. Zoë enjoys studying Eastern religion and philosophy in her spare time, and has had the distinct pleasure of performing for His Holiness, the Dalai Lama.

Ayane Kozasa

Hailed for her “magnetic, wide-ranging tone” and her “rock solid technique” (Philadelphia Inquirer), violist Ayane Kozasa enjoys a career that spans a broad spectrum of musical personas. A violinist turned violist, she holds a Bachelor of Music from the Cleveland Institute of Music, and artist certificates from the Curtis Institute of Music as well as the Kronberg Academy Masters school in Germany.

Ayane’s solo career took off when she won the 2011 Primrose International Viola Competition. Following the competition, she joined the Astral Artists roster and became a grant recipient from the S&R Foundation, an organization recognizing and supporting young aspiring artists of all mediums. Her international solo opportunities have been a platform to unearth seldom heard works and commission new pieces, an aspect of viola playing that she loves. Most recently, she commissioned a work by Brooklyn composer Paul Wiancko for viola and cello, which they premiered in Washington DC at the S&R Foundation.

Chamber music has also been a vital part of Ayane’s musical career. She has loved traveling to various festivals and collaborating with talented musicians, including Marlboro Music Festival, Twickenham Fest, and Methow Valley Chamber Music Festival. Her desire to be a part of a serious group came into fruition three years ago in the form of the Aizuri Quartet. Ayane is also the principal violist of the Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia, a position that she has held since fall 2012.

Ayane is deeply grateful for the mentorship she received from her past teachers, Nobuko Imai, Kirsten Docter, Roberto Diaz, Misha Amory, and William Preucil.

Karen Ouzounian

Described as “radiant” and “expressive” (The New York Times) and “nothing less than gorgeous” (Memphis Commercial Appeal), cellist Karen Ouzounian approaches music-making with a deeply communicative and passionate spirit. She is a founding member of the Aizuri Quartet, currently the string quartet-in-residence at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia. Her commitment to adventurous repertoire and the collaborative process has led to her membership in the Grammy-nominated, self-conducted chamber orchestra A Far Cry, and the critically-acclaimed new music collective counter)induction. She has additionally performed with such ensembles as Trio Cavatina, The Knights, IRIS Orchestra, and as guest principal of the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra. Her 2014-2015 season includes a Musicians from Marlboro tour, a return recital at Caramoor with pianist Ieva Jokubaviciute, and tours throughout the United States, Latin America and Europe. In addition, she serves as acting principal of the Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia.

Highlights of Karen’s recent seasons include a recital at the Caramoor International Music Festival and a Musicians from Ravinia’s Steans Music Institute tour. She has collaborated with renowned artists Pamela Frank, Miriam Fried, Richard Goode, Kim Kashkashian, Donald Weilerstein, and members of the Guarneri Quartet. Festivals include the Marlboro Music Festival, the Ravinia Festival’s Steans Music Institute, the Caramoor Center for Music and the Arts’ Evnin Rising Stars, and the Open Chamber Music Seminar at Prussia Cove (UK). Born to Armenian parents in Toronto, Karen was a prizewinner at the 2012 Canada Council for the Arts Musical Instrument Bank Competition. She holds Master of Music and Bachelor of Music degrees from The Juilliard School, where she was a student of Timothy Eddy.