Collective Listening Project

Dover String Quartet Selects

Playlist No. 7

About the Playlist

April 16, 2020
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This phenomenal young ensemble has already inspired a new generation of musicians. Now the members of the quartet share the artists and works that serve as their own points of inspiration, including both audio tracks and music videos:


Joel Link, Violin:

SCHOENBERG Verklärte Nacht, Op. 4
I chose the Schoenberg because it is one of my very favorite pieces of all time. It’s the first sextet I ever worked on, and it left a very strong impression. This was Schoenberg’s last real tonal work before moving on to his creation of the 12-tone system. The story is moving, and the music is so incredibly expressive and evocative. A truly special experience.

SCHUBERT Allegro ma non troppo from Quintet for Strings in C Major, D. 956
Schubert’s cello quintet is often considered one of the pinnacles of all chamber music, maybe even classical music as a genre. The word I’d use to describe it is “perfect.” The full range of expression is evident even in just the first movement. This piece is so incredibly beautiful and elegant, while full of passion.


Bryan Lee, Violin:

MOZART Allegretto from String Quartet No. 23 in F Major, K. 590, performed by the Guarneri Quartet
The writing in Mozart’s last string quartet is simply sublime, and the second movement is one of the standout movements of all his quartets. It has a simplicity to it while still managing to convey a tremendous sense of emotion. The Guarneri Quartet plays it to perfection on their debut album.

SCHUBERT Molto moderato from Sonata for Piano in B-flat Major, D.  960, Op. Posth., played by Leon Fleisher
Schubert’s last piano sonata lulls the listener into a sense of calm but is constantly reminding us of something more sinister with an ominous G-flat trill that pops up to dispel the sense of calm and tranquility. This is undoubtedly one of his greatest works, written during the last year of his life along with two other piano sonatas and his glorious cello quintet in C Major. Leon Fleisher plays this with such feeling and triumph. It’s one of my favorite recordings and I discover something new each time I listen to it.


Milena Pajaro-van de Stadt, Viola:

GABRIEL KAHANE “Empire Liquor Mart (9127 S. Figueroa St​.​)”
I picked this song because it is always an absolute tearjerker for me. The music is powerful and beautiful, the story heartbreakingly relevant, and I am also a HUGE fan of Gabe Kahane’s music, if you haven’t heard any of it yet! I even went so far as to buy all of his songbooks so I can sit at the keyboard and sing them to myself at home. It’s a long song, just about nine minutes, which I also love because it allows me to really enter its world and experience the story.

DUKE ELLINGTON and JOHN COLTRANE “In a Sentimental Mood,” sung by Sarah Vaughan
Sarah Vaughan is one of my favorite singers of all time. Much like the way we instrumentalists try to tap into the vocal side of what we do and “sing” through our instruments, I find Sarah Vaughan to be the epitome of someone using their voice as a limitless instrument and exploring every color and emotion it has to offer. I truly feel that one can hear the subtleties of her facial expressions just through her vocal timbre alone. She was a master, and this is one of my favorite love songs!


Camden Shaw, Cello:

As a performer myself, I am particularly inspired when I see a musician not only at the absolute height of their craft but also completely absorbed by the music and by the present. The four performances here are so special and are such sincere examples of musical communication that we can only thank the heavens the camera was rolling! These artists would have been wonderful on any given day, but in each case I believe it is clear that they were at their absolute best. No pretense, no showmanship, and some fascinating balance of selflessness and emotional transparency all at once.

SCHUMANN Abendlied, Op. 85, No. 12, played by cellist Steven Isserlis and pianist Denes Varjon

ELGAR Violin Concerto in B Minor, Op. 61, played by violinist Joseph Silverstein

PURCELL “When I am laid in earth” from Dido and Aeneas, sung by soprano Jessye Norman

SCHUBERT Impromptu, D. 899, Op. 90, No. 3, played by pianist Vladimir Horowitz

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