by Jarrett Hoffman
On Tuesday, December 3 at 7:30 pm at Plymouth Church, the Dover Quartet will return to the Cleveland Chamber Music Society bearing a healthy, six-week-old piece of music by David Bruce alongside works by Britten and Brahms.
The group premiered Bruce’s The Lick Quartet in October on the Dallas Chamber Music Society, then played it again at the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam and the Stadthaus in Ulm, Germany. That makes this the fourth performance of the piece, and if you want to get geographic about it, the East-of-the-Mississippi U.S. premiere.
And about that title — it has nothing to do with anyone’s tongue, but rather it’s the word for a melodic fragment in jazz. According to Bruce’s notes on the piece, the term “lick” has become a cliché, an Internet meme, and an inside joke among musicians. But after he noticed the resemblance of a lick in his early sketches for the piece, he decided to challenge himself to use it unironically.