‘Seasonal Music’ in the age of climate change

Momenta String Quartet performs new work by Washington University’s Stark Nov. 17

The Momenta String Quartet (Photo: John Gurrin)

The Momenta String Quartet is among the most acclaimed ensembles of its generation, praised as “taut and compelling” (The New York Times), “razor-sharp” (Musical America) and “a veritable firestorm of intensity” (The Washington Post).

On Sunday, Nov. 17, Momenta will perform a major new work by Christopher Stark, assistant professor of music in Arts & Sciences at Washington University in St. Louis, in the 560 Music Center.

Stark

“‘Seasonal Music’ is probably my largest work to date,” Stark said. “It’s a 30-minute-long string quartet. I really wanted to explore the concept of responding to the seasons, which is something that many composers and many artists have done before. But I think in 2019, the seasons have taken on a sort of different quality as we relate them now to the effects of climate change.

“So there’s a slight ominousness to them, along with their beauty.”

“Seasonal Music” also serves as the title track to Stark’s debut CD, released on Bridge Records earlier this month. The disc features performances by Momenta as well the acclaimed Los Angeles Piano Quartet and the Calyx Piano Trio with clarinetist Scott Andrews.

For the Nov. 17 program, Momenta will begin with String Quartet No. 3 by contemporary composer Roberto Sierra, followed by Stark’s “Seasonal Music.” The program will conclude with String Quartet No. 1 “Métamorphoses nocturnes” by influential avant-garde composer György Ligeti (1923-2006).

The performance begins at 7 p.m. in the 560 Music Center’s E. Desmond Lee Concert Hall. Tickets are $15; $12 for seniors and Washington University faculty and staff; free for Washington University students; and $10 for other students. For more information, visit music.wustl.edu.

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