UMS Concert Program, April 17, 1977: Guarneri String Quartet --
Complete Series: 4059
Rackham Auditorium, Ann Arbor, Michigan
The University Musical Society
The University of Michigan
Guarneri String Quartet
ARNOLD STEIXHARDT. Violin MICHAEL TREE, Viola
JOHN DALLEY, Violin DAVID SOYER. CWo
Sunday Aitkknoo.x. April 17. 1977. at 2:30 Rackham Auditorium. Ann Arbor. Michigan
I' ROG RA M
Quartet in Bflat major. Op. 18, No. 6........Beethoven
Allegro con brio
Adagio ma non troppo Scherzo
La Malinconia, adagio; allegretto quasi allegro
Quartet in F minor. Op. 95..........Beethoven
Allegro con brio Allegretto ma non troppo
Allegro assai vivace, ma serioso
Larghctto csprcssivo; allegro agitato
I N T K R M I S S I ( S
Quartet in (' minor. (). 18, No. 4.........Beethoven
Allegro ma non lanto Scherzo Mcnuetto Allegro
Quartet in F major. Op. 135..........Beethoven
Lento assai, cantabile e tranquillo Grave ma non troppo ttalto: allegro
This concert h the fifth mul last program of the complete Beethoven quartet cycle performed by the Guarneri Quartet during this 1U7677 season.
RCA Red Seal Records Second Concert Beethoven "Finale Pair" Complete Programs 4059
Ludwig van Beethoven
(Born December 16, 1770, in Bonn; died March 26, 187. in Vienna) Quartet in Bflat major, Op. 18, Xo. 6
Beethoven's six string quartets, Op. 18, were composed during the period between 1798 and 1800, and were published in two volumes of three quartets each in 1801 by Mollo of Vienna. They were dedicated to Prince Lobkowitz, a great friend and admirer of Beethoven and an excellent violinist, who spent large sums of money in order to satisfy his passion for music. These quartets constitute Beethoven's first published works in this form. They were conceived during a very difficult period in the composer's life. He was experiencing his first signs of deafness, though he concealed the fact from his friends. Yet, while he was suffering inwardly, he composed these essentially bright quartets. Joseph de Marliave called them the first of Beethoven's "splendid lies."
A strange mixture of styles and moods is to be found in the Quartet No. 6 in Bflat major, Op. 18, No. 6. The opening Allegro con brio, with its rather robust high spirits, sounds more Haydnesque than Beethovenian. The shadow of Haydn also seems to hang over the serene, uncom?plicated, and beautiful Adagio ma non troppo. Beethoven's own personality emerges in the Scherzo. Allegro, whose main section is full of tantalizing crossrhythms, with contrast provided by the relative rhythmic regularity of the trio--or middle section.
With the arrival of the final movement, the whole mood of this heretofore untroubled quartet undergoes a startling series of transformations. To begin with, there is an extended section header! La Malinconia, Adagio, and bearing the further indication, in Italian, "This movement must be played with the greatest subtlety." The deep emotion, the wrenching harmonies, the sudden shifts from loud to soft--all this presents the composer in an expressive new light. For a lew moments, he seems to be revealing a bit of his inner self in music suggesting a transition from his early to his middle creative period. Then suddenly, this mood of melancholy is dispelled by a bright Allegretto quasi allegro. At first, there appears to be no relation between the two sections of this movement. Eventually, however, the Adagio returns, plunging the music into a dark mood once more. It takes two attempts before the Allegretto is able to resume. At the very end. it appears lor an instant as if things were to become serious again; then Beethoven casts all care to the winds as he concludes the movement with a short, exuberant Prestissimo.
Quartet in F minor. Op. 95
Concise, compact, and simply projected, this Fminor quartet is intensely expressive and often spoken of as the most intimate of Beethoven's work. It was composed in 1810, and is dedicated to Herr von Zmcskall. The opening movement, Allegro con brio, begins brusquely with a subject voiced in unison by the four instruments. An atmosphere of drama is thus established, to prevail throughout the entire movement. The turmoil is over and in the second movement, Allegretto ma non troppo, there is a pervading calm, gently touched by sorrow. The characteristic energy of Beethoven's scherzo movements is found in the third movement, Allegro assai vivace. After a poignant diminished seventh chord comes the final movement, Larglietto, music of deep feeling, which yields to the closing Allegretto.
Quartet in C minor. Op. 18, No. 4
The origin of the Quartet No. 4 in C minor, Op. 18, No. 4. is shrouded in mystery. No pre?liminary sketches of this quartet have ever been found, though it is almost inconceivable that, as de Marliave suggested, it could have been composed in a single effort. It is the only one of the six quartets in this group that is in a minor key; this gives it a different mood and coloring that set it apart from its five brothers.
The first movement is an expressive, soaring Allegro ma non tanto. An unusual feature of this quartet is that it has no slow movement. Instead, the second movement is a delicate scherzo, marked Andante scherzoso quasi allegretto, which opens with a little fugato, and thereafter pokes much of its fun in learned counterpoint. The third movement is a fairly seriousminded Menuetto, Allegretto, which returns to the darker mood of the opening movement, though its trio--or contrasting middle section--is somewhat brighter. The final Allegro, a spirited rondo, has a principal theme that begins like a variation in the minor of the popular Gypsy Rondo in Haydn's Piano Trio in G major.
Quartet in F major. Op. 13S
Beethoven's String Quartet, Op. U5, is his last completed work, with the exception of the substitute finale to the Bflal major Quartet, Op. UO. The Quartet was finished in October of 1826. In this final work, Beethoven makes what must have been a conscious return to his own past, to his own former models. The opening Allegretto has been said to be suggestive of both Haydn and Mozart, the humor and spontaneity of the former balanced by the formal symmetry of the latter. The second movement, a lively scherzo much rougher than the first, belongs to the composer's outdoor scenes, as in its relative Sixth Symphony. The Lento which follows is exactly the opposite, the music flowing evenly and smoothly, which the composer referred to as a "tender song of praise."
Over the score of the last movement Beethoven wrote . . . "the resolution is taken with diffi?culty" and in the opening Grave section there appears the eiuestioning motto "Must it be so" and the emphatic reply, "It must be!" Although it has been often suggested that these musical motives might have some metaphysical interpretations, others have maintained this questionandanswer depiction was just another of Beethoven's musical jokes!
The Op. 135 Quartet, the 16th and last of these masterpieces, was performed for the first time at a memorial service for Beethoven, after his death.
. . . from tin joil to paprikash The Guarncri Quartet Speaks Out on Recording
John and Srs.w Harvith O 1977
Harviths: As we explained to you, this interview will be used as part of a November 1977 University of Michigan exhibition, catalogue, and set of symposia dealing with the 100th anniversary of the invention of recording.
Dalley: Oh, I though this was going to be about music.
Soyer: The Russians invented recording, didn't they
Steinhardl: The 100th anniversary of what
Harviths: Of recording by Edison.
Dalley: The invention of recording It can't be that old. What was the first record
Steinhardl: It was a wax cylinder, wasn't it
Harviths: No, it was tin foil.
Soyer: Who made that, who made that
Soyer: Kdison made that too Were the first recorded words "Don't fire until you see the whites of their eyes" Was that it
Harviths: The question is, what do you think of recording Do you feel that your playing is faith?fully captured by recording, lor instance
Sleinhardt: Probably not entirely. There are some artists who record better than they play, but mainly it's viceversa. Most artists have a lot more presence and a lot more expressive and dynamic qualities live than liny do in the recording studio by the very nature of the beast. It's a mechanical thing and it's an artificial situation that you're creating without an audience and recording piecemeal, as we do nowadays. I think it was probably much, much better in the 78 days, because one had to go in and play live minutes without interruption.
Soyer: What do you mean We do that just as much. Steinhardl: We also stop and start and stop and start.
Dalley: The advances in recording make it more difficult to capture what it is you're putting on tape faithfully. Because as the mikes (jet better, or they put them closer, or they have more of them, you have all of these peripheral problems that make it harder to give the effect of a conceit hall. You're sitting in a room, and you have a very immediate setup with microphones. In a conceit the audience is what--maybe .0 feet away, on the average, or 40 feet. They're al quite a distance, but microphones are not. And microphones also pick up everything, whereas human ears don't. So it's a combination of factors that make it difficult to give the impression of a concert, or to capture those things that happen in a conceit hall. Movies are the same way. Kor movies, actors don't act. in a sense. Because if they did in the movies what they did in the theater, it would look ludicrous.
Tree: The fact is that this new technique of being able to splice almost within a note as well as between notes has made it all too tempting for us to indulge in attempting to produce a perfect product, as opposed to a spontaneous style of playing that might contain mistakes, or that misiht involve risks. On the concert stage we do things that we can't afford to do on records, and the fact that they can splice so carefully causes us to be a little clinical in our own approach to recording, which is not good. We have to fight that tendency all the time, and we have to let an occasional slip or a wrong note s'o by if the overall mood is good.
Soyer: I think what John was trying to bring out is that the recording companies", recording ex?perts', record collectors' concept of what a recording should be is probably not the same as ours, or a musician's in general. Because I don't think they're attempting to make conceit hall conditions, or reproductions of performances in the sound or in the ambiance of the live per?formance.
Hari'ilhs: Are you striving lor a concert hall sound when you make recordings
Tree: It's really out of our hands now.
Dalley: Xo, I think it's another medium entirely, and perhaps we're just reluctant to lace that fact.
Harviths: Would you rather have recordings made from live performances than from studio per?formances
Soyer: I think we would rather if everyone else did that, yes. Hut in a sense that's a difficulty because of the problem of the expectation of perfection. Technical, instrumental perfection is a big psychological factor when one is in the studio making records. If all artists recorded concert performances, and those were the recordings that were used, yes--we would certainly prefer that. Hut the tendency o! recordings is to iron out the eccentric, idiosyncratic, personal things that happen in the concert hall that are stimulated by the moment, the excitement, the audience, and the event itself. In recordings you just don't have that element ... a microphone is not an audience.
Harviths: What was your reaction the first time you heard your own recording
Steinhardt: Oh. it was horrifying. It was like looking at yourself in one of those threesided mirrors, and suddenly seeing a side of yourself that you never see. like from the back or from the side. Aren't you kind of startled and horrified to see what you really look like
Soyer: I was pleasantly surprised when that happened.
Dalley: I don't know about the cello, but as a string player with an instrument that is held and is really a part of the body. I hear it in a different way, as you hear your own voice differently. If you're a pianist the piano is just there and produces a sound. Hut the piano is not connected to you. It doesn't make your own bones rattle, the way your voice makes something rattle inside your head.
Steinhardt: Talking about panicking in front of a microphone or having different reactions to it, Hartnk as a young man wanted to collect folk music from the peasants in Hungary. He had an Edison machine, and he went into the country. He had his horn, he'd get there, he'd put the cylinders on. and he'd say in Hungarian, "Would you sins; into this horn" And the peasants wouldn't do it. They were scared out of their minds that if they did it they'd lose their voices, that the horn would swallow up their voices. And so a lot of them just wouldn't do it.
Soyer: And after that time he used to no around with a bis; pot of chicken paprikash to induce them to sins; in front of the microphone. His; ladles lull of it ...
Tree: That makes me very hungry. I want to s;o and eat.
Steinhanll: Incidentally, he'd have the microphone in the paprikash and say "Sins; into the paprikash, would you"
Tree: Is there a good Hungarian restaurant in this town That's what I want to know.
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