Composers Datebook®

Juri Seo's 'String Quartet - Infinite Season'

Composers Datebook - 20231202
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Synopsis

For the last 30 years of his life, Aaron Copland lived in a ranch-style house built in the 1940s on Washington Street in Cortlandt Manor, New York. After his death in 1990, the house became a National Historical Landmark and also the site of a residency program for composers. In 2017, one of them was Juri Seo, a composer and pianist based in New Jersey.

Now, there was a lot of snow in Cortlandt Manor that year, and maybe that had something to do with it, but the chamber work Juri Seo worked on there was titled String Quartet - Infinite Season. As she explains:

“After each snow, golden sunlight hinted at the spring’s coming warmth. The turbulent fluctuation of the weather made me acutely aware of the passage of time. The seasons seemed to alternate by the day, yet the certainty of spring never faltered. … This was my solace: The seasons, with their infinite gradations of difference, will return again, and the birds and insects will carry on, cycle after cycle, an infinite rebirth.”

This new work was written for the Argus Quartet, which gave its premiere performance on today’s date in 2017 at Princeton University.

Music Played in Today's Program

Juri Seo (b. 1981) String Quartet - Infinite Season; Argus Quartet Innova 1-022

On This Day

Births

  • 1866 - American baritone and composer Henry Thacker Burleigh, in Stamford, Conn.;

  • 1879 - Bohemian-born American operetta composer Rudolf Friml, in Prague;

Deaths

  • 1916 - Sir Francesco Paolo Tosti, age 70, in Rome;

  • 1931 - French composer Vincent d'Indy, age 80, in Paris;

  • 1990 - American composer Aaron Copland, age 90, in North Tarrytown, N.Y.;

Premieres

  • 1729 - Handel: opera "Lotario," in London at the King's Theater in the Haymarket (Gregorian date: Dec. 13);

  • 1840 - Donizetti: opera "La Favorite," at the Paris Opéra;

  • 1883 - Brahms: Symphony No. 3, with Vienna Philharmonic conducted by Hans Richter; The composer and pianist Ignaz Brüll had performed a two-piano arrangement of this symphony the previous month at two private events for friends (including possibly the Viennese music critic, Eduard Hanslick);

  • 1886 - Brahms: Violin Sonata No. 2 in A, Op. 100, in Vienna;

  • 1877 - Saint-Saëns: opera "Samson et Dalila" (in German), in Weimar at the Hoftheater;

  • 1900 - Rachmaninoff: second and third movements only of Piano Concerto No. 2, Op. 18 (Gregorian date: Dec. 15);

  • 1901 - Rachmaninoff: Cello Sonata, Op. 19, in Moscow, by cellist Anatoly Brandukov, with the composer at the piano (Gregorian date: Dec. 15);

  • 1924 - Sigmund Romberg: "The Student Prince," in New York City;

  • 1928 - Franz Schmidt: Symphony No. 3, in Vienna;

  • 1928 - Schoenberg: "Variations for Orchestra," in Berlin;

  • 1946 - Milhaud: Symphony No. 2, by the Boston Symphony with the composer conducting;

  • 1949 - Bartók: Viola Concerto (completed by Tibor Serly), posthumously, by violist William Primrose and the Minneapolis Symphony, Antal Dorati conducting;

  • 1949 - premiere of MGM film “On the Town,” based on the 1944 musical by Leonard Bernstein;

  • 1949 - Messiaen: first complete performance of "Turangalila" Symphony, by Boston Symphony conducted by Leonard Bernstein; Three of the ten movements of this symphony were premiered in Paris on February 15, 1948);

  • 1955 - Petrassi: Concerto for Orchestra No. 5, by the Boston Symphony, Charles Munch conducting;

  • 1955 - Ernst Toch: Symphony No. 3, by the Pittsburgh Symphony, William Steinberg conducting; This work was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Music in 1956;

  • 1970 - Tippett: opera "The Knot Garden," in London at the Royal Opera, Covent Garden;

  • 1988 - John Harbison: "Fantasy Duo" for violin and piano, at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C., with violinist David Abel and pianist Julie Steinberg;

  • 1998 - Zwilich: String Quartet No. 2, at Carnegie Hall in New York by the Emerson Quartet;

  • 1999 - James MacMillan: Symphony No. 2, at Ayr Town Hall in Scotland, by the Scottish Chamber Symphony, with the composer conducting;

Others

  • 1717 - J.S. Bach is allowed to leave the Duke’s Court at Weimar; He had been imprisoned since Nov. 6 th by his former employer Duke Wilhelm Ernst of Weimar for accepting a new post at Prince Leopold’s court at Cöthen without first asking permission.

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About Composers Datebook®

Host John Birge presents a daily snapshot of composers past and present, with timely information, intriguing musical events and appropriate, accessible music related to each.

He has been hosting, producing and performing classical music for more than 25 years. Since 1997, he has been hosting on Minnesota Public Radio's Classical Music Service. He played French horn for the Cincinnati Symphony and Pops Orchestra and performed with them on their centennial tour of Europe in 1995. He was trained at the Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, Eastman School of Music and Interlochen Arts Academy.

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