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This is SNB's chamber music series featuring music for string quartet and wind ensemble in Saint John, Fredericton, and Moncton.

 Next Concerts

Saint John String Quartet

Saturday, April 12, 2014 in Moncton, St John's United at 7:30PM
Sunday, April 13, 2014 in Saint John, Saint John Arts Centre at 2PM
Wednesday, April 16, 2014 in Fredericton, Memorial Hall, UNB at 7:30PM



Splendid Sonorities


Saint John String Quartet

David Adams & Danielle Sametz, Violins

Christopher Buckley, Viola

Sonja Adams, Cello

W.A. Mozart                           String Quartet in G Major K.387 ‘Spring’

                                                            Allegro vivace assai


                                                            Andante cantabile

                                                            Molto allegro


M. Kutnowski                         Peter Emberley’s Dream




F. Schubert                             String Quartet in D minor D.810 ‘Death and the Maiden’


                                                            Andante con moto

                                                            Scherzo allegro molto



Program Notes




W.A. Mozart              String Quartet in G Major K.387 ‘Spring’


Composed during 1782 in Vienna, Mozart’s String Quartet K.387 marks the first of six such quartets written in honour of his contemporary Joseph Haydn, generally considered to be the father of string quartet form. Haydn had, in the space of only a few years, elevated the string quartet from a relatively new medium to a point where it would ultimately be recognized as one of the most challenging of all forms of composition, exemplified in his own Op.33 set of six string quartets published in 1781. It was during this year that Mozart settled in Vienna, first meeting Haydn and forming a close friendship with him based on their mutual admiration for each other. Their combined output of these twelve aforementioned string quartets would mark the first great watershed of Viennese Classical chamber music.


The first movement, written in Sonata form, features intricate instrumental writing, frequent dynamic contrast and heavy chromaticism for the period. This characterizes themes in the other movements as well and suggests an artistic unity to the quartet as a whole, a very progressive concept in early string quartet history. The main theme in this movement is gracefully light and, for all its complexity and considerable expressive depth, is quite easy for the listener to engage with. The development has the feel of an operatic recitative, beginning ponderously before finding a more animated and serious voice. A more fully realized and elaborate exploration of the main thematic material concludes the movement in delightful style.


Mozart breaks with convention by placing the Minuet second in proceedings rather than as the quartet’s third movement. It employs distinctive note-to-note dynamic contrast and a jerky chromatic climb upward in its opening, hinting perhaps at the future of the Scherzo genre. The Trio descends into a gruff G minor opening with all four players in a striking unison, its continued chromaticism and dynamic contrast now contributing towards a darker tension for the first time in the quartet.


The Andante Cantabile third movement conveys the quality of a serene and exquisite song. As the movement unfolds it becomes a soaring and radiant example of polyphony, four independent threads interwoven so that no single melody remains memorable but rather the greater sense of a sustained harmonic splendour.


The Allegro Molto finale bounds with energy and colour. Its strong themes are presented contrapuntally for much of the movement, a highly innovative technique and an important historical milestone which marks the beginning of a progression to the fully matured Classical style. The main material bounds with energy, colour and exciting complexity, in slight contrast to a more playful, though equally lively, alternate theme. For all its drive and shimmering grandeur Mozart teasingly avoids a mighty conclusion, instead opting for a delicate restatement of the movement’s first fugato theme along with a three note tail, tying up the quartet in a blissful perfect cadence.



M. Kutnowski                                  Peter Emberley’s Dream

Martin Kutnowski is a composer, music theorist and writer currently serving as Director of Fine Arts at St. Thomas University in Fredericton. His music often fuses folk, world and classical styles and has been performed on four continents including noted venues such as Carnegie Hall in New York, Wigmore Hall in London, Izumi Hall in Osaka, and Teatro Colón in Buenos Aires. He has received numerous awards from the National Endowment for the Arts of Argentina, Canada Council for the Arts, Arts New Brunswick, Fulbright and ASACP among others. 

Notes from the composer:

Peter Emberley’s Dream is inspired by The Ballad of Peter Amberley, one of the oldest English folk songs in New Brunswick. Peter Amberley was a nineteen-year-old man from Prince Edward Island who (approximately) in 1880 went to work on the lumber woods in Boiestown, Miramichi, but died crushed by a log. The story inspired a song known to woodsmen all over North America; it speaks of the yearnings and desires of the heart when one is young and passionate. The piece was commissioned by The Rivers School Conservatory, Weston, Massachusetts.


F.Schubert                String Quartet in D minor D.810 ‘Death and the Maiden’


Although it remained unpublished until three years after the composer’s death, Schubert’s String Quartet in D minor D.810, usually referred to as Death and the Maiden, soon after became an essential pillar of the chamber music repertoire. Composed in 1824, whilst Schubert suffered ill health, poverty and depression, the work never escapes a clear association with the theme of death and is very much the composer’s ode on the subject. The quartet is characterized by dramatic, sudden and often violent shifts in style and mood, united by an almost relentless sense of foreboding.


The first movement Allegro opens with a striking and powerful unison between the players and in its introduction establishes the elements which will carry throughout it, notably a triplet motif which becomes a recurrent and driving feature for the entire work. Many violent mood shifts and an unrelenting tension, even in the slower chorale passages, race towards a conclusion of resignation, the triplet motif heard again as the movement dies away on a D minor chord.


The quartet takes its name and inspiration from a setting for voice and piano of Matthias Claudius’ poem of the same name which Schubert wrote in 1817. In it The Maiden begs to be spared whilst Death tries to persuade, the translated text of which reads:


The Maiden:

Away! Ah, Away! Thou cruel man of bone!

I am still young. Go, instead.

And do not touch me!


Give me thy hand, you fair and tender creature,

I'm a friend, and do not come to punish.

Be of good courage; I am not cruel

You shall sleep gently in my arms


The song forms the basis of the quartet’s Theme and Variations second movement Andante con Moto, though is realized with a greater intensity and at times a distinctly urgent tone, perhaps reflecting the urgency which Schubert felt given his own declining health and the very personal dimension which the work now held for him.


A dramatic and fast paced Scherzo Allegro Molto is the third movement of the quartet. In the form of classical minuet the brief Trio section gives the entire work its only real respite from an otherwise vigorous pace, an elegant melody heard in the lower voices whilst the first violin accompanies above.


The finale of the quartet, Presto, is brought about in the form of a Tarantella, a frenzied Italian folk dance thought to have originated as an emergency remedy against the supposed hysterical symptoms and eventual death brought on by the bite of a Tarantula spider. The main theme of the movement begins in unison with a dotted figure lurching rhythmically here and there, with characteristically sudden changes in dynamics, before eventually giving way to a second chorale-like theme, more grandiose and broader in feel, incorporating motifs from earlier movements such as the opening triplet motif. A complex third section featuring convoluted harmonies and offbeat rhythms throws away any clear sense of downbeat and adds greatly to the growing sense of anxiety and unease before leading in to a recapitulation of the movement’s second and main themes. There is a brief suggestion of hope and perhaps even triumph as the key of D major is reached at the beginning of the coda, but a series of breakneck runs and two final emphatic chords ultimately dash any such notion and bring the work to its tragic conclusion.








Tickets at the door or at the Capitol/Imperial/Playhouse

Adults: $25 Students $10

        Group rates available: call 506 634 8379  


featuring Ventus Machina, Wind Quintet


Ventus Machina's Spring 2014 program, entitled 'Legends and Fairytales', is an entertaining (and educational) romp through stories from regions around the world.  Including music from Ravel's 'Mother Goose Suite' and Grieg's 'Peer Gynt' arranged for woodwind quintet, and featuring a newly-composed work by Richard Gibson which sets music to some of New Brunswick's most famous Acadian legends, this program is fun, light, and family friendly.  See you there!

Tickets at the door or at the Capitol/Imperial

Adults: $25 Students $10

                             Group rates available: call 506 634 8379                        



Saint John, Saint John Arts Centre at 2 pm


Sunday, November  3                   SJSQ: Remembrance

Sunday, November 17                 Introducing: Ventus Machina

Sunday, December 8                    SJSQ: Classic Expressions

Sunday February 9                        SJSQ: Strings and Reeds

Sunday, March 23                          Ventus Machina:  Legends

Sunday, April 13                             SJSQ: Splendid Sonorities


Moncton/Dieppe, Saint John United at 7:30 pm


Saturday, November 16                Introducing: Ventus Machina

Saturday, December 7                   SJSQ: Classic Expressions

Saturday, February  8                    SJSQ:  Strings and Reeds

Saturday , March 22                      Ventus Machina: Legends

Saturday, April  12                          SJSQ: Splendid Sonorities

Saturday, May 3                              Ventus Machina: Surprises


Fredericton, Christ Church Cathedral at 7:30 pm


Wednesday, November 6                          SJSQ: Remembrance

Wednesday, November 20                        Introducing: Ventus Machina

Wednesday, December 4                           SJSQ: Classic Expressions

Wednesday, February 12                           SJSQ: Strings and Reeds

Wednesday, April 16                                  SJSQ: Splendid Sonorities

Wednesday, May 7                                     Ventus Machina: Surprises


Sadly, Laurissa Chitty will be leaving the SJSQ and SNB..... BUT.....That means that every Virtuoso concert will have a different second violinist...AND....Wouldn't you like to see/hear each one and tell us what you think?

Symphony New Brunswick is so proud to welcome Ventus Machina to the Virtuoso Series. Check out their facebook page
https://www.facebook.com/VentusMachina  for details about the group

Tickets at the door ( $25 adults; $10 students)
Children under 12 free

contact: symphony@nbnet.nb.ca or 506 634 8379

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