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Resol String Quartet
Maria Vila Ariza
Notes on the performers
Friends joined through their love of chamber music, the Resol String Quartet formed in the Autumn of 2018 at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland.
Taking their name from the Catalan word meaning ‘reflection of sunlight’, the members of the quartet come from a great variety of backgrounds but were brought together by their shared vision to make classical music more inclusive and accessible both in the present and for the future.
In a constant pursuit for excellence, these young artists share their joy of music making and act as ambassadors for chamber music, keeping it alive in today’s society. The group feel just as at home in education settings as they do in village halls and on the concert platform and strive to blend all this work together.
In May 2021, the quartet were awarded both the First Prize, and Audience Prize in the CAVATINA Competition at the Wigmore Hall, representing the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. In the same year, they made their Perth Concert Hall debut, were named as one of Chamber Music Scotland’s ‘One’s to Watch’ and were accepted to work with Live Music Now Scotland. They also appeared live on BBC Radio Scotland’s ‘Classics Unwrapped’. In 2022 they made their Conway Hall Debut as part of their historic ‘Sunday Concert Series’. In the same year they performed on BBC Scotland’s ‘Scotland’s People 2022’ alongside Brit Award winning artist Tom Walker. In early 2023 the quartet were privileged to step in to cover the Fitzwilliam Quartet for a performance in the York Late Music Concert Series. They also spent a week at Snape Maltings as a Britten Pears Young Artist. The week included work on and a performance of A. Bliss’ Oboe Quintet alongside Nicholas Daniel OBE.
In their time at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, the quartet opened the Rosin Chamber Festival, alongside the world-renowned Brodsky String Quartet. In the same year, the quartet won First Prize in the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland Mabel Glover String Quartet Competition and were awarded the Mary D Adams prize for chamber music. The ensemble were also invited to perform at the RCS for the last concert of their Hilary Rosin Sunday Coffee Concert Series.
Ludwig van Beethoven
String Quartet No. 8 in E minor, Op. 59 No. 2
- Molto adagio
- Finale. Presto
The String Quartet No. 8 in E minor, Op. 59, No. 2, was published in 1808. This work is the second of three of his “Rasumovsky” cycle of string quartets, and is a product of his “middle” period.
According to Carl Czerny, the second movement of the quartet occurred to Beethoven as he contemplated the starry sky and thought of the music of the spheres (Thayer, Life of Beethoven); it has a hymnlike quality reminiscent of a much later devotion, the “Heiliger Dankgesang” hymn to the Divine in the Quartet Op. 132.
String Quartet in A minor, Op. 13
- Allegro vivace
- Adagio non lento
The String Quartet No. 2 in A minor, Op. 13, was composed by Felix Mendelssohn in 1827. Written when he was 18 years old, it was, despite its official number, Mendelssohn’s first mature string quartet. One of Mendelssohn’s most passionate works, the A minor Quartet is one of the earliest and most significant examples of cyclic form in music.
The Crossing Point: String Quartet no.4
In 2021 the Resol Quartet asked me to consider writing a piece for one of their winter tours. The suggestion was that I might use seasonal themes related to Christmas. At first I was unsure about this idea, as I didn’t want to create a ‘Christmas Medley’. However, it struck me that the idea might work if I were to use just two different carol melodies, and vary each of them in turn to produce a set of ‘double variations’ (a form that seems to have been invented by Haydn). The next step was to find a Scottish carol and an English carol that might lend themselves to this approach.
Finding the Scottish carol wasn’t easy: it seems there are far fewer carols in the Scottish tradition than in the English. However, I quickly found a strikingly beautiful melody known as Talàdh Chrìosda – the Christ Child’s Lullaby – and I have paired this with the English melody ‘A Virgin Most Pure’. Although the two melodies are quite different in character, they can also be combined, and
this does happen at the end of the piece. However, each melody has to be adapted slightly to make this work: you could say that each has to be willing to take on some of the characteristics of the other. Perhaps this is the ideal ‘crossing point’: a border between traditions and, by extension, nations, which is characterised by mutual respect, and a willingness to collaborate.
Of course, borders can also be terrible places, and the beginning of my quartet is an evocation of the plight of refugees walking for hours, days, weeks, to escape persecution, hunger and war. This melancholy opening idea is only slightly related to the two carol melodies. It returns twice before
the music reaches a more tranquil crossing point where the two melodies can finally be combined.