Arts-Scène Diffusion

Quatuor Ardeo


Terra Memoria


Quartet in G minor

Terra Memoria

Quartet op.44 n°3


Terra Memoria is the title of K. Saariaho's second piece for string quartet. The two words, earth and memory, are rich in associations. In the words of the composer, earth refers to her musical material and memory to the way she works with it.
Isn't it the job of every artist, whether painter, sculptor, dancer or composer, to work with his or her material (paint in the case of one, the body in the case of another...) in the same way as we knead dough or sculpt sound to give it shape? Earth", the matrix of all things, is here the sound material specific to each composer. In Saariaho's work, we experience it as granular, rough or sometimes even gaunt and almost impalpable, but always linked to a deep feeling of profound elegance. Just as in E. Mayer's quartet in G minor, with its tonality that blends seriousness and tenderness but also expresses lament so well. Or Mendelssohn's Opus 44 No. 3: of the three quartets in this opus, it is undoubtedly the one that displays the most inner energy and the most depth, the most gravity... In these three works, which are more than 150 years apart and yet so different in form, we sense the same original texture, the same colour of brush which, while borrowing a totally different style, can each in their own way express things that are timeless and universal.

Music, that romance without words, as Mendelssohn put it, appeals to memory. For Saariaho, memory is memory, memories of time spent with the dead. Memories that remain engraved for some, and for others that change with time and maturity. As for Mayer or Mendelssohn, they were both following in Beethoven's footsteps. It is often said that Mendelssohn was marked by the imprint of the great Ludwig, but we can go further and draw invisible threads that would cross the centuries from Bach to Haydn via Mayer, Mendelssohn and why not all the way to Saariaho?

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