Jupiter String Quartet Announces New Album Alchemy with Pianist Bernadette Harvey
Source: Christina Jensen PR
World Premiere Recordings by Pierre Jalbert, Steven Stucky, and Carl Vine
New York, NY – The Jupiter String Quartet announces the May 10, 2019 release of Alchemy with pianist Bernadette Harvey on Marquis Classics. This album features the world premiere recordings of four works commissioned by Arizona Friends of Chamber Music: Pierre Jalbert’s Piano Quintet (2017); Steven Stucky’s Piano Quartet (2005); Carl Vine’s Fantasia for Piano Quintet (2013); and Pierre Jalbert’s Secret Alchemy for violin, viola, cell, and piano (2012).
The Jupiter Quartet and Bernadette Harvey met in 2017 at the Tucson Winter Chamber Music Festival, where they gave the world premiere of Pierre Jalbert’s Piano Quintet. They reunited to record this work in honor of the festival’s 25th anniversary and to celebrate the commissioning program of Arizona Friends of Chamber Music, the festival’s supporting organization. Since 1997, AFCM has nurtured new music through commissioning contemporary composers to write new works – 69 to date – many of which are now widely performed and recorded.
The other works on Alchemy were chosen because Harvey also performed in the world premieres of Jalbert’s Secret Alchemy and Vine’s Piano Quintet. Peter Rejto, her husband and the Artistic Director of the festival, was the cellist in the Stucky Piano Quartet premiere, and all of the premieres occurred at the Tucson Winter Chamber Music Festival.
Of the collaboration, violist Liz Freivogel says, “Bernadette Harvey is an absolute joy to play with. She brings an extraordinary level of clarity and creativity to every piece she explores, and it is wonderful to collaborate with a musician of such sensitivity and depth.” Harvey echoes, “The Jupiter Quartet is one of the finest quartets I’ve worked with. They have an infectious energy, incredible precision and a strong urge for excellence. They were equally sensitive to my presence in the soundscape, my desires and concerns, as they were to their own, so that the final overall balance and ambience is totally satisfying.”
Alchemy was co-produced by Grammy Award winner Matthew Snyder and Peter Rejto; mastered by Matthew Snyder at Allegro Recordings in Burbank, California; and recorded May 6-8 2018 at Krannert Center for the Performing Arts’ Foellinger Great Hall at the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana. Album cover image of Jupiter courtesy of NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS.
Jupiter Quartet | Bernadette Harvey, piano | Marquis Classics 81491 | Release Date: May 10, 2019
[1-4] Pierre Jalbert: Piano Quintet (2017) 18:08
I. Mannheim Rocket 3:03
II. Kyrie 6:57
III. Scherzo 3:33
IV. Pulse 4:35
 Steven Stucky: Piano Quartet (2005) 17:26
 Carl Vine: Fantasia for Piano Quintet (2013) 15:46
[7-10] Pierre Jalbert: Secret Alchemy for violin, viola, cello, and piano (2012) 16:46
I. Mystical 4:00
II. Agitated, relentless 3:15
III. Timeless, mysterious, reverberant 5:28
IV. With great energy 4:03
Pierre Jalbert (b. 1967): Piano Quintet
Premiered by Jupiter Quartet and Bernadette Harvey on March 19, 2017
Pierre Jalbert’s Piano Quintet consists of four separate, contrasting movements: ‘Mannheim Rocket,’ a modern take on the eighteenth-century musical technique in which a rising figure speeds up and grows louder; ‘Kyrie,’ a chromatically transformed chant-like motive; a scherzo in which the strings and piano sometimes alternate and imitate each other, reacting to each other’s gestures, and at other times combine and synchronize to produce a more blended sound; and ‘Pulse,’ made up of perpetually moving 8th notes, but always pushing forward.
Steven Stucky (1949-2016): Piano Quartet
Premiered by Los Angeles Piano Quartet on March 1, 2005
As one who loved nothing more than to play the piano quartets of Mozart, Brahms, Fauré, during his youth as a violist, Steven Stucky was inspired by these works his entire career, and later by 20th-century piano quartets of Copland, Palmer, Hartke, and Weir. Stucky noted that, “Attempting my own first work in this medium at the comparatively late age of 55, has stirred conflicting emotions—intimidation at the idea of ‘competing’ against the masters, but also a feeling of coming home to familiar, much loved surroundings.”
Stucky’s Piano Quartet is in one continuous movement, but flows in and out of many distinct sections: A short allegro (Risoluto) presents the theme and introduces bell-like sonorities that will recur throughout the piece. In the next, slow section (Lento, molto cantabile), the piano continues to imitate bells. A fast interlude (Allegro) reverses the roles—strings take on the bell sounds and leads quickly to a scherzo (Scherzando e molto leggero) conjuring the composer’s memories of pop music. The trio (Comodo, non affrettato) makes way to a second slow movement, with the piano now cast as soloist, and a brisk coda recalling the clangorous bell sounds of the opening.
Carl Vine (b.1954): Fantasia for Piano Quintet
Premiered by Bernadette Harvey and the Shanghai Quartet on March 24, 2013
Carl Vine writes about his Fantasia, “I call this single-movement piano quintet Fantasia because it doesn’t follow a strict formal structure and contains little structural repetition or recapitulation. The central section is generally slower than the rest and is followed by a presto finale, but otherwise related motifs tend to flow one from the other organically through the course of the work. It is ‘pure’ music that uses no external imagery, allusion, narrative, or poetry.”
Pierre Jalbert (b. 1967): Secret Alchemy for for violin, viola, cello, and piano
Premiered by Bernadette Harvey, Benny Kim, Helena Baillie, Steve Doane on March 1, 2012
“With any new composition, there is a sense of discovery and mystery during the creative process,” says Jalbert, and of the title, explains, “Though this piece is not programmatic, imagining the air of secrecy and mysticism surrounding a medieval alchemist at work provided a starting point for the piece.”
Composed in four separate and contrasting movements, Jalbert notes, “The first movement begins with this sense of mystery. String harmonics are used to create the rhythmic backdrop for melodic lines played by the cello and later, the viola. The second movement is a relentless scherzo characterized by pizzicato strings, turbulent piano writing, and quickly alternating rhythmic patterns. The third movement is influenced by medieval music with its use of open 5ths, chant-like lines played non-vibrato by the strings, and reverberant piano harmonies, simulating the sound and reverberation in a large cathedral. The fourth movement concludes the work with an energetic music characterized by strings playing fast measured tremolo figures (rapid movement of the bow back and forth on the string). These alternate with the piano’s massive chords and occasional rapid melodic figures, along with muted tones emanating from inside the piano.”
About the Jupiter Quartet
The Jupiter String Quartet is a particularly intimate group, consisting of violinists Nelson Lee and Meg Freivogel, violist Liz Freivogel (Meg's older sister), and cellist Daniel McDonough (Meg's husband, Liz's brother-in-law). Now enjoying their sixteenth year together, this tight-knit ensemble is firmly established as an important voice in the world of chamber music. In addition to their performing career, they have been artists-in-residence at the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana since 2012, where they maintain private studios and direct the chamber music program.
The quartet has performed in some of the world's finest halls, including New York City's Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center, London's Wigmore Hall, Boston's Jordan Hall, Mexico City's Palacio de Bellas Artes, Washington, D.C.'s Kennedy Center and Library of Congress, Austria's Esterhazy Palace, and Seoul's Sejong Chamber Hall. Their major music festival appearances include the Aspen Music Festival and School, Bowdoin Music Festival, Lanaudiere Festival, West Cork (Ireland) Chamber Music Festival, Caramoor International Music Festival, Music at Menlo, Maverick Concerts, Madeline Island Music Festival, Rockport Music Festival, the Banff Centre, Yellow Barn Festival, Skaneateles Festival, Encore Chamber Music Festival, and the Seoul Spring Festival, among others.
Their chamber music honors and awards include the grand prizes in the Banff International String Quartet Competition and the Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition; the Young Concert Artists International auditions in New York City; the Cleveland Quartet Award from Chamber Music America; an Avery Fisher Career Grant; and a grant from the Fromm Foundation. From 2007-2010, they were in residence at the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center’s Chamber Music Two. Since 2012, they have been artists-in-residence at the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana, where they maintain private studios and direct the chamber music program.
The Jupiter String Quartet feels a particular connection to the core string quartet repertoire; they have presented the complete Bartok and Beethoven string quartets on numerous occasions. Also strongly committed to new music, they have commissioned works by Syd Hodkinson, Hannah Lash, Dan Visconti, Mark Adamo, Pierre Jalbert, and Kati Agócs. They can be heard in numerous recordings on labels including Azica Records, Marquis Classics, and Deutsche Grammophon.
The quartet chose its name because Jupiter was the most prominent planet in the night sky at the time of its formation and the astrological symbol for Jupiter resembles the number four.
For information, visit www.jupiterquartet.com.
About Bernadette Harvey
Born in Australia, Bernadette Harvey is an acclaimed soloist and chamber musician, currently a senior lecturer of piano and piano pedagogy at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music. Her career as a pianist began when she won her first medal in the Sydney Eisteddfod at just 2 years of age. She went on to win the ABC Young Performer of the Year (1987) playing in recitals and as soloist with all major Australian Symphony Orchestras. In 2000 she was awarded the Centenary Medal for her contributions to Australian music, and with her brother, Michael Kieran Harvey, she received the Australian Music Centre’s award for the Promotion of Australian Music and the Best Performance of an Australian Composition as a member of the duo-piano Australian Virtuosi (2001).
Following early studies in Australia, Harvey travelled to Canada, England and France, studying with Fanny Waterman, Cecile Ousset, and with Dr Nelita True in America, graduating with a Masters and Doctorate of Musical Arts from Eastman School of Music (Rochester, New York). Harvey then taught at the New England Conservatory and the Longy School of Music in Boston at Cambridge, Massachusetts. Returning to Australia in 1997, she accepted the Artistic Directorship of the Australian Women’s Music Festival, presenting the work of 83 Australian women composers.
Harvey’s recent chamber music appearances include the 2017 Tucson Winter Chamber Music Festival (USA) where she has performed annually since 2009. She has also collaborated with the Tokyo, Shanghai, Jupiter and Pražák Quartets, Joseph Lin of the Juilliard Quartet, and with solo musicians including Marc Andre Hamelin and David Schifrin amongst many others. Harvey also plays regularly as a Musica Viva artist in nationwide tours and recently presented a series of solo recitals in America at the University of Arizona, Indiana University and the Eastman School of Music.
Having sought substantial funding from Australian private and governmental bodies, Harvey is committed to the ongoing commissioning, recording and performing program of new large-scale Australian works for the solo piano entitled The Sonata Project. By providing a platform upon which the work of 21st century Australian composers is amplified, she seeks to increase the number of significant piano works written by female composers and to keep the support of classical acoustic solo piano recitals buoyant by engaging new audiences to experience them. Her inaugural Sonata Project concert performed in November 2017 within the Verbrugghen Hall at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music. More concerts and recordings are planned for 2020 and beyond to celebrate the ongoing creation and performance of new works.
To safeguard a vibrant future for pianists, Harvey is also currently researching injury preventive keyboard techniques to enable her wide circle of students to maintain prosperous and injury-free careers.