Carrot Revolution: A Fresh Look at the String Quartet

Jun 15, 2015

Music intersects with visual art in a new string quartet. As WRTI’s Susan Lewis reports, the work is a musical reaction to the unconventional way that paintings, furniture, metalwork and other objects are displayed at the Barnes Foundation.

The Aizuri Quartet premiered 'Carrot Revolution' at the Barnes Foundation in May, 2015.

Radio script:

Music: Carrot Revolution

Susan Lewis: The beginning of the string quartet called Carrot Revolution is quite percussive - with sounds you don’t think of as coming from violins, viola, and cello.

Gabriella Smith: I think that’s part of the idea of new ways of looking at old things – that’s what Barnes was doing.

SL: Composer Gabriella Smith was commissioned to write a work inspired by the way Barnes arranged his art in ensembles, to highlight common elements such as color, shapes, and textures.

GS: I like seeing the juxtapositions, and similarities and contrasts Barnes was trying  to point out 

SL: Carrot Revolution has eclectic array of influences - among them, Joni Mitchell, Bach, and bluegrass, Georgian folk music, Ligeti, and Simon & Garfunkel. These inspirations come together  n unexpected ways as the piece moves forward...

GS: Shifting back and forth, on that continuum from noise to pitch, sometimes gradually sometimes cutting directly from one end of the spectrum to the other

SL: Smith says Carrot Revolution takes its name from a quote attributed to Cezanne in a novel by Emile Zola, which states: “The day will come when a freshly observed carrot will start a revolution.” 

GS: I think it embodies that spirit of fresh observation...that Dr. Barnes was going for, and what I go for in my music. This was part of my new way of looking at the string quartet.

SL: Carrot Revolution was premiered by the Aizuri Quartet at the Barnes Foundation in May, 2015.