Rastrelli Cello Quartet
From Brahms to The Beatles
“Simply infectious, the Quartet brings sizzle to every bit of music they perform.”
Sunday, July 21st at 3pm
Ventura College Performing Arts Center
4700 Loma Vista Road, Ventura
Kira Kraftzoff | cello, founder & artistic director
Sergio Drabkin | cello
Misha Degtjareff | cello
Kirill Timofejev | cello
Tarantella Opus 33 | David Popper
Andante Cantabile from String Quartet No. 1 in D major, Op. 11 | Pyotr Tchaikovsky
Three excepts from Peer Gynt Op. 23 | Edvard Grieg
In the Hall of Mountain King
6 Hungarian Dances Nos. 13, 14, 10, 17, 20 & 19 | Johannes Brahms
Russian Folk Songs
Oh, Frost, Frost
Korobeiniki (The Peddlers)
Vdol po Piterskoy (Down the Peterskaya Road)
~ Intermission ~
E lucevan le stelle (The stars were shining) aria from Tosca | Giacomo Puccini
Six Romanian Folk Dances | Béla Bartók
Beatles Song Book | John Lennon | Paul McCartney | George Harrison
Yesterday | Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band | Things We Said Today | If I Fell | Honey Pie | Michelle | I Saw Her Standing There | Here, There and Everywhere | Night Before | Dizzy Miss Lizzy
All arrangements by Sergio Drabkin and Kira Kraftzoff
The Rastrelli Cello Quartet has been thrilling audiences since 2002 with their expert arrangements—since there is almost no original repertory for cello quartet—of works that range over classical, folk and pop genres from Brahms to the Beatles. The ensemble’s name comes from the 18th-century architect who designed the Hermitage in St. Petersburg, home city of three of the four quartet members. The Rastrelli have performed in Europe’s great concert halls—Munich Gasteig, Berlin Philharmony, Konzerthaus Vienna, Concertgebouw Amsterdam, and Philharmonic Hall and Mariinsky Theater St. Petersburg—as well as Europe’s leading summer music festivals—Beethoven Festival Bonn, Darmstadter Festspiele, Branderburgische Sommerkonzerte, Rheingau Musikfestival and Ohridsko Leto (Macedonia)—and the Meadowlark Music Festival USA. The Rastrelli Quartet currently has eight albums—Rastrelli, Volumes 1-6, Cello Effect and Cello in Classic.
Great performing Bohemian cellist, influential teacher and composer David Popper (1843-1913) created graceful but demanding concertos and salon pieces for cello and piano such as the Tarantella, the spirited Italian folk dance form in lively 6/8 time.
The second movement of String Quartet No.1, Op. 11 in D major, by Pyotr Tchaikovsky (1840-1893) is perhaps the most famous and popular of any Andante cantabile in the classical repertoire, prized for its “walking pace” (faster than adagio but slower than allegro) and its “flowing and songlike” (cantabile) melodies.
Edvard Grieg (1843-1907) wrote his second most popular work (after his Piano Concerto), the incidental music (later arranged as two suites) for Henrik Ibsen’s satiric five-act verse drama Peer Gynt about the downfall of a Norwegian peasant anti-hero who meets a sweet girl Solveig at a wedding but instead abducts the bride Ingrid only to abandon her for the daughter of (the scandalized) Mountain King from whose realm our lothario only narrowly escapes.
Johannes Brahms (1833-1897) wrote four books of Hungarian Dances, “arrangements” that most often were original compositions showing his lifelong love for traditional folk music. Their lively “Gypsy” sound was based on tavern song csárdás characterized by great variations in tempo, generally starting out slowly and building to a very fast finale.
The lyrics and melodies of these three popular folk songs depict the humor and poignancy of life in 19th century Russia. “Oh, frost, frost/Don’t freeze me or my horse” laments winter’s onset. Korobeiniki (“Peddlers”) describes the haggling over the goods between a haberdashery peddler and a girl as a metaphor for courtship. Down the (St-) Petersburg Road is a catch phrase (meaning “to do something in plain sight”) describing what happens on “easy street”—the main prosperous Moscow boulevard leading out to Russia’s second city.
The painter (Mario) in love with singer Tosca sings one of opera’s most famous arias—from Tosca by Giacomo Puccini (1858-1924)—while he awaits his execution: “The stars were shining,/The gate of the garden creaked./And a footstep grazed the sand./Fragrant, she entered/And fell into my arms./Oh, sweet kisses and languorous caresses,/Forever, my dream of love has vanished./That moment has fled, and I die in desperation./And I never before loved life so much!”
Béla Bartók (1881-1945) wrote Six Romanian Folk Dances, a suite of six short piano pieces (he later orchestrated) based on different musical modes from Transylvania, originally played on fiddle or shepherd’s flute: Stick Dance, Sash Dance, In One Spot, Bucsum Dance, Polka and Fast Dance.
The Rastrelli Beatles Songbook features selections from the band’s early, middle and late periods (1960-1970) with songs from their Cavern/Hamburg days to their lyrical ballads on up to their final symphonic creations.
Sponsors: Betsy Chess
Montecito Bank & Trust