Q and you.
Q Concerts' project Q + U is a musical dialogue. Send us one (or two, or more) of your favorite pieces of music — any genre, era, style — just the name, or a link to a recording or performance of the piece if you like; we'll respond with a piece in turn, in a personal email that includes a little description of why we've paired the two pieces together. It's a great way to discover some new music and to hear familiar pieces in a new way.
Here are some examples of our Q + U pairs:
Get Up Offa that Thing
Caprice No. 24
James Brown
Niccolò Paganini
paired by Q with
Like James Brown, Paganini was a larger-than-life character. A violinist and a composer, he was rumored to have sold his soul to the devil in exchange for his virtuosity, and was one of the first musical celebrities. Women fainted at his performances. Between 1802-1817 Paganini wrote a set of 24 Caprices for solo violin. They are fiendishly difficult, and this is the final caprice of the set. It's written as a theme and variations — it starts with a simple theme, and then each subsequent variation explores a different set of increasingly difficult violin techniques. Like James Brown, Paganini inspired audiences with his dazzling virtuosity and incredible showmanship.
Águas de Março
The Lark Ascending
Elis Regina and Tom Jobim
Ralph Vaughan Williams
paired by Q with
Águas de Março is about the heavy rains of March in Rio, and is full of descending musical lines that create the feeling of water rushing downward. The Lark Ascending is based on a poem by George Meredith, and the piece is full of the sound of birdsong, and a feeling of rising upward — a wonderful counter to the downward flow of water. Each piece is a beautiful, lyrical tribute to the essence of springtime.
Venetian Boat Song No. 6 from Songs without Words
The Beatles
Felix Mendelssohn
paired by Q with
Both Because and Mendelssohn's Venetian Boat Song No. 6 have rolling bass lines and mournful melodies that float over the top, making them sound very much alike, despite being written almost 150 years apart and in the context of very different musical traditions. Like the Beatles, Mendelssohn keeps you on your toes by surprising you harmonically in what appears on the surface to be just a simple song.
Enixa Est Puerpera
Partita for 8 Voices
Hildegard von Bingen
Caroline Shaw
paired by Q with
Like Hildegard von Bingen's Enixa Est Puerpera, written in the 12th century, Caroline Shaw's Partita for 8 Voices, written from 2009-2011, is a very mysterious piece. Though Shaw’s Partita is guttural and noisy in passages, it is also transcendental, and reminiscent of Hildegard von Bingen both in its simplicity and complexity. Shaw explores the voice with experimental curiousity, discovering myriad textures and sounds, some of which are influenced by traditional Inuit folk singing. Both pieces are powerful expressions of spiritual awe and reverence.
Crepuscule with Nellie
Adagietto from Symphony No. 5
Thelonious Monk
Gustav Mahler
paired by Q with
Like Monk's Crepuscule for his wife Nellie, the Adagietto from Mahler's Symphony No. 5 is dedicated to his bride, Alma. It's a stunning movement, often lifted out of the symphony and performed as a single piece on its own. It's scored for strings and harp, creating a lush, warm sound, full of tenderness and longing. Monk’s Crepuscule with Nellie is slow and sensual with a bit of swagger. A pair of love letters, each in very different style.
Primavera Porteña (Spring) from The Four Seasons of Buenos Aires
Recomposed by Max Richter: Vivaldi, The Four Seasons: Spring, Movement II
Astor Piazzolla
Max Richter
paired by Q with
In his Recomposed by Max Richter: Vivaldi, The Four Seasons, Richter takes fragments from Vivaldi's Four Seasons, loops them, takes them apart, adds new material. It's a wildly creative reimagining of one of the most well-known pieces of classical music. The second movement of Richter's Spring speaks beautifully to the slow section of Piazzolla's original.
St. Louis Blues
Patsy Cline
Django Reinhardt
paired by Q with
Django Reinhardt was one of Willie Nelson’s important musical influences, and you can absolutely hear the connection in Django’s version of St. Louis Blues, though the style is very different from Willie Nelson’s Crazy. Both songs have an unhurried feel and that perfect back-of-the-beat swing.
Ciaccona per Embrik
Violin Concerto No. 1, Second Movement
Trygve Seim
Philip Glass
paired by Q with
Philip Glass's Violin Concerto No. 1 was written in 1987 in remembrance of the composer's father; Trygve Seim's Ciaconna per Embrik is also a dedicatory piece. Both are chaconnes, defined by a bass line that repeats for the duration of the movement. This second movement of Glass's concerto is minimal, understated, and exploratory like the Seim’s Ciaccona, and both are filled with yearning.
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