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Composers Datebook®

with host John Birge

Monday, August 31

Joan Tower's Angels

Synopsis

Angel Fire is a village in the New Mexico Rockies that hosts an annual chamber music festival. To celebrate their 25th anniversary, Music from Angel Fire commissioned the American composer Joan Tower to write them a new work, which she titled “Angels”–a virtuosic String Quartet, her fourth, which received its premiere performance by the Miami String Quartet on today’s date in 2008.

“Having written three prior quartets and gotten to travel extensively around the world of quartets,” wrote Tower, “I have come to love the way [they] are so deeply creative and passionate about the music they play. They are really like four ‘composers’ at work.”

The title given the new piece is a nod to Angel Fire, New Mexico, of course, but Tower made it clear she had some other special angels in mind: six people who helped her younger brother George survive a major stroke. These were her sister, a former student named Erin, a doctor , a nurse, and a pair of real estate agents.

All six appear on the score’s front page beneath her dedication, “to the ‘Angels’ who took care of my brother.”

Music Played in Today's Program

Joan Tower (b. 1938) Angels (String Quartet No. 4) Miami String Quartet Naxos 8.559795

Additional Information

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