Nov. 19 concert at Bing takes musical trip to France

Composers from France and the French West Indies are at the forefront at the Spokane String Quartet concert at 3 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 19, at The Bing Crosby Theater.

Tickets are $25 for adults, $20 for seniors and free for under 18 and students with ID. All seats are general admission. Click here to buy tickets.

This concert highlights the string quartets of three French composers, Joseph Bologne (Chevalier de  Saint-Georges), Gabriel Faure and Maurice Ravel.  

French-Senegalese Bologne was a larger-than-life figure who is regarded as the first composer of African  descent to receive universal critical acclaim. He was contemporary with Haydn and Mozart, and in fact  helped commission and conduct the premiere of Haydn’s “Paris” symphonies. Bologne’s life spanned  tumultuous times from the last years of the French monarchy to the French Revolution. Despite the  racism that he faced, his talents as a virtuoso violinist, conductor, dancer and master swordsman paved  the way for being welcomed in the court of Marie Antoinette, and then serving the Revolution as a  citizen soldier. 

Both Ravel and Faure only composed a single string quartet. Ravel’s “Neoclassical” quartet infuses  traditional classical form and triad-based harmony with modern explorations. Ravel composed his string  quartet at the age of 28 and dedicated it to his teacher Faure. The piece is widely considered his first  masterpiece. Gabriel Faure’s string quartet was to be his last composition, written while he was deaf  and ailing, just months before his death. The music has been described as “austere,” “distilled,” “an  intimate meditation on last things,” “aiming beyond earthly summits” and filled with “themes that seem  constantly to be drawn skywards.”