In the Dark – JACK Quartet


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American’s hottest contemporary chamber ensemble, the JACK Quartet, will perform the 3rd String Quartet of George Friedrich Haas, “In The Dark,” which is, in fact, performed in the dark! This unique performance will take place on the CU-Boulder campus in the ATLAS Black Box theater.

Note from our Executive Director Stephen Seifert –

“If you don’t know JACK, it might be time for an introduction.”

The JACK Quartet is America’s hottest contemporary chamber ensemble. They have rocketed to stardom in the US, England and Europe. One of the pieces which they have made their own is the Third String Quartet, “In iij Noct.,“ or “In the Dark,” by the Austrian composer Georg Friedrich Haas. It is performed at the composer’s instruction in total darkness! I experienced it in performance in Seattle last year. The JACK Quartet will perform it for Newman Center Presents exclusively at the ATLAS theater on the CU campus in Boulder on Saturday, April 14 at 8:00 p.m. We want to thank our hosts the Pendulum New Music Series at CU.

Haas had experimented with the possibilities of music performed in the dark before, but here it becomes the key theme of the work. The musicians can see neither their music nor their fellow performers. They are seated as far apart from one another as possible. I can tell you that as an audience member my experience was primal and visceral. The lack of visual cues forced me to consume the experience differently than at any other concert. You can’t “explain” to yourself what’s happening, and you can’t anticipate what’s about to happen, because you can’t use your eyes as a tool.

It’s not just a “musical” experience, it’s almost a spiritual experience, or at least a different sensory experience of sound. I lost track of time. Sometimes I felt as if I were in a trance. The music kept my imagination very active, seeing, in my mind’s eye only of course, the room that we were in, images of bees, or throat-singing Tibetan monks, colors, feelings, concepts.

The piece has structure, though not the usual musical or performance structures that classical music audiences are used to. It’s in 18 sections, but those sections can be played in any order, and that order isn’t even determined until the players are in the midst of the performance. They “invite” each other to participate in each section, and invitations can be refused for a time. The piece lasts about 60 minutes as JACK performs it. Towards the end of the 3rd String Quartet a quotation from Gesualdo can be heard, from which the work also takes its title (from the Responses: Feria V, Resp. VII).

Haas gave the following description: “The 3rd String Quartet is composed as a verbal score, with many details and decisions left to the performers. They communicate solely through the sounds produced by their instruments, inviting one another into musical processes, accepting these invitations or responding in kind with an invitation of their own – and always deciding for themselves how far they choose to go down each path together, before turning back.” Georg Friedrich Haas

This unique experience with America’s premier contemporary string quartet is available to only 125 people on April 14. Get your tickets now!

Steve Seifert

Purchase your tickets now before they are all gone!