Performance Thursday, February 5, 2015 | 7:30 PM

Brentano String Quartet
Joyce DiDonato

Zankel Hall
A three-century–long French connection defines this program. Charpentier’s Suite confirms his reputation as one of the master melodists of the 17th century. Debussy’s String Quartet shimmers with color and beguiles with rhythmic and harmonic invention. Based on the tragic life of French sculptor Camille Claudel, Jake Heggie’s poignant song cycle is a tour de force for both singer and quartet. Heggie is also the arranger of a set of lullabies written by teen songwriters.

The contemporary works on this program are part of My Time, My Music.


  • Brentano String Quartet
    ·· Mark Steinberg, Violin
    ·· Serena Canin, Violin
    ·· Misha Amory, Viola
    ·· Nina Lee, Cello
  • Joyce DiDonato, Mezzo-Soprano


  • CHARPENTIER Suite in D Minor
  • DEBUSSY String Quartet in G Minor
  • LULLABY PROJECT MotherSongs (arr. Jake Heggie) (World Premiere, commissioned by Carnegie Hall)
  • LULLABY PROJECT MotherSongs (arr. Luna Pearl Woolf) (World Premiere, commissioned by Carnegie Hall)
  • JAKE HEGGIE Camille Claudel: Into the Fire (NY Premiere)

Event Duration

The printed program will last approximately two hours, including one 20-minute intermission.


Pre-concert talk starts at 6:30 PM in Zankel Hall: Joyce DiDonato, Jake Heggie, and Mark Steinberg of the Brentano Quartet in conversation with Jeremy Geffen, Director of Artistic Planning, Carnegie Hall.


"Shakuntala" from Camille Claudel: Into the Fire
Joyce DiDonato, Mezzo-Soprano | The Alexander String Quartet
PentaTone Classics

At a Glance

MARC-ANTOINE CHARPENTIER  Concert pour quatre parties de violes, H. 545

Originally written for a consort of viols, this elegantly crafted set of dances established the model for the French dance suite of the Baroque era. The music reflects the expressive power and contrapuntal mastery with which Marc-Antoine Charpentier invested his better-known sacred works, such as the Messe de minuit pour Noël and the Te Deum (known to millions as the source of the popular theme for the Eurovision Song Contest).

CLAUDE DEBUSSY  String Quartet in G Minor, Op. 10

Debussy’s first and only string quartet didn’t make much of a splash when it was first performed in Paris in late 1893. Although a handful of listeners recognized the seeds of the composer’s future greatness, many more seem to have been nonplused by his unorthodox treatment of harmony and form; the work’s quasi-cyclical structure, in particular, was ahead of its time. Only later did Debussy’s quartet take its place alongside Ravel’s as one of the glories of the chamber music literature.


Carnegie Hall’s Lullaby Project invites women facing pregnancy in their teenage years or while homeless or incarcerated to write personal lullabies for their babies in collaboration with professional artists. Ms. DiDonato selected a set of lullabies written by four of last year’s participants to be arranged by composer Luna Pearl Woolf for performance with the Brentano String Quartet on this evening’s concert.

JAKE HEGGIE  Camille Claudel: Into the Fire

This theatrical piece is based on the life and artwork of French sculptor Camille Claudel, an artistic genius and Rodin’s lover who was eventually confined to an asylum by her family. The cycle’s narrative takes place on the day she is to be taken to the asylum as she wakes to the strange reality of what is about to happen and addresses her sculptures in each of the songs.


Joyce DiDonato talks about the song cycle Into the Fire and Camille Claudel.

Perspectives: Joyce DiDonato
This concert is made possible, in part, by an endowment fund for young artists established by Mr. and Mrs. Anthony B. Evnin and the A. E. Charitable Foundation.
This performance is part of Chamber Sessions I, and Perspectives: Joyce DiDonato.

Part of