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Dover Quartet
Voices of Defiance

Virtual meeting date: Tuesday, November 11 at 7:00pm

Where to listen

Voices of Defiance is available for purchase from Cedille Records and Amazon.

Purchase on: Cedille Records | Amazon
Stream on: Spotify | Apple Music | Amazon Music

Listening Guide

The Dover Quartet takes you through Szymon Laks’ String Quartet No. 3 guiding you through specific passages and providing some context to the work.

Szymon Laks String Quartet No. 3

First Movement

  • OVERALL: Ambivalence. Where are we headed? Are we hearing survivor’s guilt, or at least haunting memories?
  • Very opening; train whistle. Trains for anyone living in Auschwitz would have been nearly synonymous with death, but in this case it seems we may be headed somewhere hopeful. Are we headed home?
  • 0:16: Suddenly in this smokey, nebulous character. Somewhat frightening. What could this mean?
  • 0:44: Very dark melody, with what could be crying voices in the background.

Second Movement

  • OVERALL: Contrast between loneliness, with real emphasis on one voice, and then an emphasis of a CROWD of voices. How do we comprehend mass tragedy? One death in the context of millions?
  • 0:39: Audience member aptly observed that the main voice here actually plays softer than the other three, but the pain in the voice makes its message come through. This is one of the examples here of a personal, individual sadness.
  • 2:36: With only pizzicato accompaniment, this is one of the most lonely melodies. The contrast with what will happen next is unbelievable.
  • 3:22: The screaming cry of many voices, with the tune that a minute earlier was just one.
  • 6:48: Each voice truly alone now, no accompaniment, and he writes “morendo” (dying.)

Third Movement

  • OVERALL: What role does this movement serve in the context of the whole piece?
  • Hope seems nearer — actual sounds of polish cafe music, and (in contrast to the first two movements) there are no shifts into dark emotional places.

Fourth Movement

  • OVERALL: Marvel at the PACING of this theme-and-variations movement. This is all about the final journey of catharsis, going home. No trains here; we are on foot. First, you hear heavy footsteps, with an ancient, durge-like feel; already, in the first variation, we feel our spirit lifting and a sense of life and hope filling the body. By the end of this movement, we are literally running on the final, familiar stretch of road to home!

Submit Your Questions

Once you’ve listened to Voices of Defiance, submit your questions and comments for the Dover Quartet!
Make sure to submit your questions before the virtual meeting on November 11.