September 2, 2014 -- On Wednesday, Sept. 10, at 6 p.m., a Marine string quartet with clarinet will present a free performance at the Kennedy Center’s Millennium Stage in Washington, D.C. Programmed by violinist Master Sergeant Regino Madrid, the concert will feature two masterpieces of the classical repertoire: Franz Joseph Haydn’s String Quartet in C, Opus 20, No. 2; and Johannes Brahms’ Clarinet Quintet in B minor, Opus 115.
“These two pieces represent pivotal moments in Haydn and Brahms’ compositional writing,” said Madrid. “Haydn’s Opus 20 ‘Sun’ quartets were revolutionary in that the composer began to give equal importance to all four voices as opposed to just the first violin which was the standard of the time.”
“The Haydn ‘Sun’ quartet is full of life and optimism,” Madrid continued. “Brahms, who was influenced by Haydn’s writing, wrote the clarinet quintet towards the end of his life. So I love the contrast between these two works: the C Major is virtuosic, the B minor introspective and will highlight the skills of Marine Band clarinetist Staff Sgt. Parker Gaims.”
According to Gaims:
“The Brahms Clarinet Quintet is special to many clarinetists not only because the clarinet plays a prominent role within the work, but also because it contains some of Brahms’ most mature writing. Though the music conveys many emotions, one cannot help but conclude that death is intrinsic throughout. The piece is often described as autumnal, but there are many reflective, ominous, and even dark moments as well. Upon listening closely, one notices that Brahms utilizes distinctive heartbeat rhythms constantly. For me, this evokes thoughts of a person’s last moments alive and their trepidation about what lies beyond. Brahms also demonstrates mastery by weaving compositional techniques together. The form of the piece is based on Mozart’s own Clarinet Quintet, but Brahms takes steps forward rhythmically and harmonically. A lush Romantic texture of never-ending melodies and intricate counterpoint exists at every turn.”
The performance is free, tickets are not required. The Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts is located at 2700 F Street in northwest Washington, D.C., and the Millennium Stages are on either side of the Grand Foyer, outside of the Concert Hall and Eisenhower Theater. The event will be streamed live via http://www.kennedy-center.org/programs/millennium/schedule.html