Hèctor Parra –

Hèctor Parra – "Un concertino di angeli contro le pareti del mio cranio"

Some performers mark their generation with their particular sound. This has been the case for several years now with the JACK Quartet, which, not only content with renewing our perception of works from the repertoire (such as Tetras by Iannis Xenakis), has become primary partners in the creation of today's music. 

The latest example will take place on 30 October with the world premiere in Cologne during the famous WDR series, Musik der Zeit, of Hèctor Parra’s fourth string quartet: Un concertino di angeli contro le pareti del mio cranio. 

Dedicated to the memory of Robert Gerhard (for the fiftieth anniversary of his death in 2020), this work "signifies", as always in the repertoire of this composer, resident at the Villa Medicis in Rome since last summer: 

"We live in a time of intense political uncertainty. But Pier Paolo Pasolini, already in the 60s had denounced with great insight the way in which fascism survives and annihilates all traces of humanity in modern society through the culture of consumption. By showing the horror of a society which, under the powerful impulse of homogeny, seeks to erase from the map those who feel trapped under the wheels of history. 

This was the case with many artists and intellectuals who had actively collaborated at the end of the 1930s with the Second Spanish Republic and with the Catalan government. Robert Gerhard was undoubtedly the greatest representative in exile of Catalan musical creation, and, with the composition of this string quartet, I would like pay him my most humble and sincere tribute. 

This new string quartet explores the oppositions between homophony and polyphony, platitude, and roughness, modernity and archaism, which are inspired by dualities so close to Pasolini’s heart: past/present, death/sex, ancestral society/modern life. In my quartet they are confronted with the mysterious emergence of a traditional Catalan song with atavistic colours - El cotiló -, very dear to Robert Gerhard throughout his thirty-year exile in the United Kingdom, an exile that lasted until his death. As Pasolini wrote in Empirismo eretico, “an author can only be a stranger in a hostile land: in reality, he dwells in death rather than inhabiting life, and the feeling he provokes is a feeling, more or less strong, of racial hatred.” 


Hèctor Parra - Un concertino di angeli contro le pareti del mio cranio « Quatuor à cordes n° 4 »
World premiere: October 30, 2021 - WDR, Musik der Zeit - Cologne
dannish premiere : November 6, 2021 - The Royal Danish Library- Aarhus
US premiere : December, 1st, 2021 - University of Iowa - Iowa City

JACK Quartet


Listen to the recording of the work during its Danish prmeiere (at 21 min 30) :