( 2015 - 2017 )
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Home favorites Spektral Quartet has been casting musical spells on Chicagoans from in and out of concert halls, bars, “wherever” since they powered up in 2010. Their escapades through musical time, intimate concert atmospheres, and deft programming have won them a host of critical acclaim including Chicagoans of the Year and a Grammy nomination for their humor-dissecting album “Serious Business”.
Every time the ensemble drops me a line to chat about specs for a promo video, I try to deliver with a sensibility that allies with the quartet’s upcoming program and resonate with their fans at home and abroad.
(Photo Credit: Jocelyn Chuang)
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Services: VIDEOGRAPHY, VIDEO EDITING, ANIMATION
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A RARELY HEARD MASTERPIECE
In 2017, Spektral joined the small cadre of string quartets to have ever dared to conjure the mesmerizing wormhole that is Morton Feldman’s six-hour masterpiece “String Quartet No. 2”.
I sought out a small patch in Pages 20-24 of the monolithic score to track to an animation conveying the valence of a music endlessly shifting, wandering, and encouraging the listener to do the same. An unassuming square, borrowed from the graphical lexicon of the concert presenting organization, the Museum of Contemporary Art, serves as a heavily recurring motif throughout.
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DIFFERENT TRAINS EVERY TIME
Spektral busted out their amps and other gizmos when they presented Steve Reich’s amplified masterpiece for string quartet and tape “Different Trains” at the Logan Center for the Arts. A composition in which the ensemble(s) discharge melodies built out of speech samples recorded and collected by the composer creates an airtight and electrifying weave of sonorities out of the speech content, both reminiscent and horrifying.
Drawing inspiration from the way this music is constructed and its historical recollections, I gathered and mixed various sound samples of steam and diesel trains to gird the editing of a video sequence that transitions between jolting musical-somatic flights and cerebral portraitures of quartet members caught in rehearsal. Concert and session footage was captured over a period of several months in 2015.
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THE SPEKTRAL QUARTET TELETHON
The Quartet headed off to Virginia in the summer of 2016 to record the music of Chris Fischer-Lochhead, Sky Macklay, Dave Reminick, and Joseph Haydn from the perches of Sono Luminus Studios for their eventual Grammy nominated album “Serious Business”, but not before throwing a party at Revolutionary Brewing to celebrate the good times with their fans at home in Chicago.
Their first-ever fundraising party, subtitlted “Yanni Was Unavailable” in the spirit of a humored album (and all-you-can-drink brews), gave us more than enough inspiration to try and answer the question: Why was Yanni unavailable?
Ask Santorini, his adopted panda…
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With every concert season, Spektral draws out new and unheard lines across centuries of string quartet music, gamboling audiences between wildly different musical eras. The 2015/16 season intensified the ensemble’s forward-looking posture with new large-scale commissions, fresh pieces from local composers, beloved works from the traditional canon, and the ensemble’s fourth album, all wrapped up in a set of intimate venues seating audiences Up Close.
(Images Courtesy of Spektral)
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Deep within the Spektral research laboratory, the quartet concocted a blistering musical cocktail that would mitigate the stupefying effects of Chicago’s winter, if only for a couple of nights...
Spektral unveiled the world premiere of a five movement work they commissioned from Chicago-local David Reminick, ardent works by Dvořák, Haydn, and Beethoven, Julien Labro’s arrangement of a sizzling Piazolla tango, Chris Fischer Lochheads arrangement of James Blake’s feverish “I Never Learnt to Share”, and Stephen Gorbos’s “Passage Through The City”.