R. Murray Schafer’s “Alzheimer’s Masterpiece” debuts in Montreal

Posted on: July 6, 2016

Alzheimer’s Masterpiece: It is a striking title for a string quartet, and not atypical of the creativity shown by Canada’s best-known living classical composer during a career that has spanned more than 60 years,” writes Arthur Kaptainis in Tuesday’s (7/5) Musical Toronto. “But there is more than artistic significance to the name of this composition, which the Quatuor Molinari performed last month in Montreal. R. Murray Schafer has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease…. Olga Ranzenhofer, the founding first violinist of the Quatuor Molinari, said … she approached the composer in the spring of 2015 about producing a work.… Late in August, Schafer called Ranzenhofer to inform her of the diagnosis and propose Alzheimer’s Masterpiece as a work to read through and potentially perform.… Schafer is known both for his chamber music and for large-scale theatrical works…. Alzheimer’s Masterpiece, which features much playful writing for first violin, requires a player (or players: Schafer is open to all options) to intone the sounds O-AH across the final two measures…. The Esprit Orchestra will open its season on Oct. 23 with a Schafer celebration in Toronto’s Koerner Hall.”

Posted July 6, 2016