Complete Series: 4058
Rackham Auditorium, Ann Arbor, Michigan
The University Musical Society
The University of Michigan
Guarneri String Quartet
ARNOLD STEINHARDT, Violin MICHAEL TREE, Viola
JOHN DALLEY, Violin DAVID SOYER, Cello
Saturday Evening, April 16, 1977, at 8:30 Rackham Auditorium, Ann Arbor, Michigan
Quartet in G major, Op. 18, No. 2.........Beethoven
Adagio cantabile Scherzo Allegro molto quasi presto
Quartet in A minor, Op. 132..........Beethoven
Adagio sostenuto; allegro Adagio ma non tanto Molto adagio
Alia marcia, assai vivace; allegro appassionato
Quartet in C major, Op. 59, No. 3.........Beethoven
Introduzione--allegro vivace Andante con moto quasi allegretto Menuetto; grazioso Allegro molto
This concert is the fourth program of the complete Beethoven quartet cycle being performed by the Guarneri Quartet during this 1976-77 season.
RCA Red Seal Records
First Concert Beethoven "Finale Pair" Complete Programs 4058
Ludwig van Beethoven
(Born December 16, 1770, in Bonn; died March 26, 1827, in Vienna)
Quartet in G major, Op. 18, No. 2
In his first string quartets, Beethoven sums up the style and the accomplishments of his two great predecessors, Haydn and Mozart, and prepares for the great advances in technique and expression that he will make in his mature quartets. His Opus 18 is a set of six that he wrote between 1798 and 1800. They were published in 1801 with a dedication to the young composer's younger noble friend, Prince Franz Joseph Lobkowitz, who spent a large part of his great fortune on music. Beethoven had already begun to suffer the progressive hearing loss that burdened him during his entire adult life, but he was just approaching the full command of the enormous creative powers that account for his special place in history.
"Some excellent works by Beethoven are outstanding among recent publications," a reviewer wrote shortly after the first three quartets appeared. "They give perfect proof of his art--but they need to be played well and heard often, for they are very difficult to perform and are in no sense 'popular.' " Since then, this Second Quartet has become one of the most popular--in the best sense.
This is a bright and happy work, overflowing with musical ideas. The Allegro first movement has more material than many other composers could dream up for an entire four-movement work. The opening phrase alone, in just eight quick and short measures, has three distinct melodic elements that Beethoven works over and develops. Next is a long and beautiful slow movement, a grave but warm Adagio canlabile with a contrasting central Allegro that buzzes quickly and almost always quietly. The third movement is a Scherzo, Allegro, after the classical model of the minuets in the quartets of Haydn and Mozart, but with forceful and dramatic features, especially in the middle Trio section, characteristic of Beethoven. The finale, Allegro molto quasi presto, rushes through the classical sonata form: contrasting themes that are developed and then recalled with a different key relationship.
Quartet in A minor, Op. 132
Late in life, between 1816 and 1826, Beethoven composed a series of extraordinary masterpieces, unequalled in the history of music and perhaps in the history of all the arts: his Ninth Symphony, a Mass, five piano sonatas and the five string quartets with opus numbers 127 to 135. During the period just before these works began to appear, his output had been slim, for the compositions of his middle years had exhausted all the possibilities of the classical forms that he had inherited from Haydn and Mozart. His final works were to require new subjects, new forms, and new powers of creation.
Beethoven wrote his last quartets during the three years before his death. They are compositions of such great density, combining concentration and tension with such great weight, that they puzzled both musicians and music-lovers for generations. The technical and interpretative difficulties they presented were usually blamed on the composer's deafness, but the effect that this tragic disability had on Beethoven's music has been reinterpreted in modern times. Early critics seemed to think that during his years without hearing, Beethoven had lost touch with musical reality. Now we believe that deafness liberated him from concern for common practicality and that it freed his imagination for higher flight.
Beethoven wrote the Quartet, Op. 132, in 1825, as the second in a group of three quartets dedicated to his faithful supporter, Prince Nikolas Galitzin, who had organized the first performance of the Missa Solemnis, Op. 123, in Saint Petersburg, a year earlier. In the meantime, Galitzin's fortunes had begun to fail and he paid for only one of the quartets. Their interesting correspondence of this period tells us a great deal about their relationship. It was no ordinary thing, in those days, for a mighty Russian prince--even one on the decline--to address a commoner as this one did when he wrote to "Dear, and Respected Monsieur van Beethoven."
The first movement of the Quartet is a freely expanded sonata-form, Allegro, that opens with a slow introduction, Assai sostenuto. The second, Allegro ma non tanto, is a scherzo-like inter?mezzo in a moderate tempo and with a contrasting middle section in rustic character. The third movement of the Quartet is one of the most glorious inventions in all European music. In his manuscript, Beethoven, who had been very ill that spring, headed it "A Convalescent's Sacred Song of Thanks to the Divinity." Where the initial slow tempo, Molto adagio, changes to an Andante with more motion, he added, "Feeling new strength." Passages in the two tempos alternate, and the beautiful measures that begin the third Adagio section are marked to be played "with the greatest inner emotion." The contrasting fourth movement is a brief march, Alia marcia, assai vivace, which is connected, by a kind of recitative for the first violin, to the finale, Allegro appasionato, based principally on a long melody of indescribable elegance that Beethoven had once considered using in his Ninth Symphony. There are contrasting episodes and a unique development of great force and intensity, until a long coda, Presto, brings the Quartet to a close.
Quartet in C major, Op. 59, No. 3
The three Rasumovsky Quartets, Op. 59, are as representative of Beethoven's maturity as a quartet composer as is the preceding "Eroica" Symphony of his fully developed power as a symphonist. Although written on an intimate scale they show the same inventiveness, diversity and scope as does the symphony. They are, in other words "symphonic quartets" and nothing quite like them had ever been heard before in chamber music repertoire. Audiences found them puzzling and hard to understand, and Beethoven's friends considered them to be intended as "jokes" or "nonsense." Critics used words as "very long and difficult," "deep and well worked," but also "generally incomprehensible."
Composed in 1806 they were first performed in Vienna a year later, and the Quartet in C major, the third of the cycle--sometimes called the "Hero" Quartet--reflects all the qualities of Beethoven's "middle" period; playfulness in the first movement, seriousness in the second, suavity in the third, and a breathless race to the finale, which is literally an overwhelming tour de force.
The Guarneri Quartet has appeared in Ann Arbor on three previous occasions--in 1971, 1972, and in 1975 with pianist Gary Graffman. This season the Quartet presents a total of eight concerts while performing the complete Beethoven cycle of sixteen quartets.
Arnold Steinhardt plays a violin made by Joseph Guarneri about 1728; John Dalley's instrument was made by Nicholas Lupot in 1819. The viola of Michael Tree was made by Dominicus Busan about 1785 and David Soyer's cello was made by Andrea Guarneri in 1669.
International Presentations -1977--78
Choral Union Series Hill Auditorium
Beverly Sills, Soprano.........Friday, September 23
Philharmonia HungaricaPeters.......Sunday, October 23
Lazar Berman, Pianist.........Thursday, November 3
Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestrade Waart . . Friday, November 11 National Orchestra of BrazilKarabtchewsky . . Sunday, November 20
Rudolf Serkin, Pianist........Wednesday, January 18
Leontyne Price, Soprano........Wednesday, January 25
Moscow Philharmonic OrchestraKitaienko . . . Monday, February 27 Baltimore Symphony OrchestraCommissiona .... Sunday, March 19 Bavarian Symphony OrchestraKubelik.....Saturday, April 8
Choice Series Power Center
Murray Louis Dance Company.......Monday & Tuesday,
October 17 & 18
George Shearing Quintet.......Wednesday, October 19
The Hoofers--A Jazz Tap Happening'......Saturday, October 22
The Pennsylvania Ballet.....Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday,
November 14, IS, 16
Ballet Folklorico Mexicano.......Saturday, November 19
Tchaikovsky's "Nutcracker" Ballet . . . Thursday, Friday, Saturday, The Pittsburgh Ballet December 15, 16, 17
Jose Molina Bailes Espanoles......Wednesday, January 11
Rossini's Barber of Seville--Canadian Opera Company . . Sunday, January 15 Hungarian Folk Ballet & Gypsy Orchestra . . . Tuesday, January 17
Eliot Feld Ballet........Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday,
February 20, 21, 22
Nikolais Dance Theatre........Tuesday & Wednesday,
'March 21 k 22
Chamber Arts Series Rackham Auditorium
Beaux Arts Trio...........Wednesday, October 12
Suk Trio.............Tuesday, October 25
Concord String Quartet........Sunday, November 6
Freiburg Baroque Soloists.......Thursday, November 17
Camerata Orchestra of SalzburgJanigro .... Friday, January 20 French String Trio & Michel Debost, Flutist . . . Friday, February 3 Orpheus Chamber Ensemble & The Festival Chorus . . Saturday, March 25 Amadeus String Quartet.........Thursday, April 6
Debut Recital Series Rackham Auditorium
Murray Perahia, Pianist........Thursday, October 27
Mirella Freni, Soprano.........Tuesday, November 8
Aleksander Slobodyanik, Pianist......Saturday, February 25
Kyung-Wha Chung, Violinist........Thursday, March 25
Asian Series Rackham Auditorium
Penca (The Art of Self-Defense) and
Topeng Babakan (Masked Dance), West Java . . Saturday, November 12
Thovil, Sri Lanka..........Wednesday, March 1
Okinawan Folk Dancers.........Tuesday, March 28
New brochure available; series ticket orders now being accepted and filled in sequence.
UNIVERSITY MUSICAL SOCIETY
Burton Memorial Tower, Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109 Phone: 665-3717, 764-2538