Rackham Auditorium, Ann Arbor
THE UNIVERSITY MUSICAL SOCIETY OF THE UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN
Guarneri String Quartet
ARNOLD STEINHARDT, Violinist MICHAEL TREE, Violist JOHN DALLEY, Violinist DAVID SOYER, Cellist
Sunday Afternoon, February 10, 1985, at 4:00 Rackham Auditorium, Ann Arbor
Second concert of the complete Beethoven quartet cycle
Quartet in D major, Op. 18, No. 3 Allegro
Andante con moto Allegro Presto
Quartet in F minor, Op. 95 Allegro con brio
Allegretto ma non troppo
Allegro assai vivace, ma serioso
Larghctto csprcssivo, allegretto agitato
Quartet in A minor, Op. 132 Adagio sostcnuto, allegro Adagio ma non tanto Molto adagio
Alia marcia, assai vivace -allegro appassionato
RCA Red Seal Records
Fifty-second Concert of the 106th Season Twenty-second Annual Chamber Arts Series
PROGRAM NOTES by Jeremy Yudkin
Quartets of Ludwig von Beethoven (1770-1827)
Quartet in D major, Op. 18, No. 3
The D major Quartet, No. 3 of Opus 18, was the first of the group in order of composi?tion, and is an unpretentious but beautifully written and delightful work. The first movement is constructed around a scries of long notes in simple counterpoint, decorated by frilly ornamental figures. The melodic motifs throughout are traditionally elegant and concise, but the occasional offbeat accents and strident fortissimo passages arc pure Beethoven. The return of the opening is deftly handled, and a brief coda ends the movement without ceremony.
A simple theme provides the basis for the slow movement, but its treatment is sophisti?cated. The melody is prefigured in the second violin before appearing in full, and the scoring and diversity of texture and style throughout provide a constant renewal. Lush chords are juxtaposed with odd fragmentation, strong repeated notes alternate with quietly smooth passages, and the movement ends with an atmosphere of combined calm and mystery.
The third movement is a clever and fascinating piece, again unspectacular and subtly projected. The rhythmic shifts, the harmonic play, the stops and starts of the first part are thrown into relief by a brief central Trio section in the minor mode. The return of the first part is rcscorcd for variety and delicate emphasis.
A resilient energy pervades the last movement, with its contrast between spiky outline and smooth contour, scamlessness and fragmentation, declamation and contemplation. The ending is table-thumping in reverse: a rhetorical gesture of great effectiveness.
Quartet in F minor, Op. 95
The Quartet in F minor. Op. 95, is a work of great power and density. Beethoven wrote "Quartetto Serioso" on the title page, and the third movement directions also use the same adjective. The quartet was completed toward the end of 1810 and dedicated to Nicholas Zmeskall von Domanovecz, a close friend of the composer. A remarkable sense of compression and urgency colors the music, and this is immediately evident at the outset, when a kaleidoscopic series of motifs, of a seminal grittiness, are forced onto the attention of the listener. The second area of exploration is momentarily of a more relaxed contour, but the forceful declamatory atmosphere returns. A short and stormy development section precedes the compressed and epigrammatic review of the opening. The ending is quiet, but with an electric energy not fully discharged.
The transition to the second movement is made by means of a single descending scale in the cello. The atmosphere is dark and restrained. After some contemplative hesitations, an oddly chromatic fugue takes over the central portion of the movement. Long ethereal chords are combined with the descending passage of the cello, and a little staccato figure pervades the texture before the return of the opening. The coda is open-ended and leads straight into the third movement, which is persistent and intense. A jerky rhythmic figure contrasts with a smoothly flowing melody in the central section in a change of key accomplished by brilliant sleight-of-hand. The movement ends with abrupt concision.
The slow introduction to the last movement generates a pathos that is quickly, and rather impudently, dispelled by the beginning of the Allegro agitato. The impetus no sooner gets under way than a series of mood changes and dramatic pauses and outbursts are woven into the texture. The forward energy, however, is relentless, and all is resolved by a light and skittering final coda, unassuming and gay.
Quartet in A minor, Op. 132
Written directly after Opus 127, the Quartet in A minor, Op. 132, approaches similar challenges as its predecessor, but resolves them in quite different ways. If there is one rhetorical concept running throughout this work, it is the unification of disparate elements, the juxtaposi?tion of seemingly diverse ideas in such a way that each illumines the other.
The first movement opens with a seamless and mysterious passage in long notes built around a four-note motif (first heard in the cello). Then, within the first page of the piece, in
dizzying proximity, come a run of sixteenth-notes in the first violin, a singing dotted theme that turns into a march, and an adagio sigh. All these elements, and further themes, are combined in the powerful and restless unity of this movement.
The second and fourth movements are both in the major mode and form a support for, as well as a contrast with, the extraordinary central slow movement. The Allegro ma non tanto is a witty and skillful play of cross-rhythms on a simple dance-like theme, while the Trio section projects an ethereal bagpipe melody over a drone bass.
An unequivocally programmatic inscription heads the diverse sections of the slow move?ment. Over the opening Molto adagio Beethoven wrote, "Holy song of thanks from a con?valescent to the Divinity, in the Lydian mode," and over the contrasting Andante, "Feeling new strength."
The smoothly fugal song of thanks evokes a deliberately spiritual air tinged with mystery, which is brusquely swept away by the simultaneously curt and elegant andante. Each returns in varied guises, and the final appearance of the molto adagio (to be played "with the deepest feeling") is a most profoundly evocative hymn of resolution.
The fourth movement is a brief and jerky march. A rhapsodic recitative for the first violin leads directly into the last movement, which spins out a sweeping melody in a leisurely rondo. Moments of manic energy and contrasting episodes lead to the wayward ending.
About the Artists
The Guarncri String Quartet celebrates its 20th Anniversary Season in 1984-85 with one hundred recitals in North America and Europe. Highlighting this season will be a gala program in New York's Carnegie Hall, twenty years after their New York debut at the New School on February 28, 1965. A tour of Europe, their nineteenth, is also scheduled for the season. The Quartet has made three tours of Australia, has toured Japan and New Zealand, and has been heard at the major international music festivals. They have been featured on television and radio specials, documen?taries and educational presentations both in North America and abroad, and arc the subject of a book entitled Quartet.
In New York, the Quartet continues its annual scries begun in 1975, "Guarneri and Friends," presented at Alice Tully Hall, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the 92nd Street YM-YWHA. In May 1982, Mayor Edward Koch presented the Quartet with the New York City Seal of Recognition, an honor awarded for the first time.
Three of the four players arc faculty members of the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia, and all members are Professors of Music at the University of Maryland. Their annual residencies at the University of South Florida began in 1972, and in 1976 that university awarded the Quartet Honorary Doctorates of Music. They were similarly honored with Honorary Doctorates by the State University of New York (Binghamton) in May 1983.
Among the Guameri's recordings, several of which have won international awards, are col?laborations with such artists as Arthur Rubinstein, Pinchas Zukcrman, and Boris Kroyt and Mischa Schneider of the Budapest Quartet.
Founded in 1964 at Vermont's Marlboro Music Festival, the Guarneri has had no changes in personnel. All members have had major solo careers and continue to appear as soloists or in musical collaborations with others. Each has recorded as soloist on a variety of labels.
Arnold Steinhardt, a winner of the Levcntritt Award, made his solo debut at the age of fourteen with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, and has appeared as soloist with the orchestras of Philadelphia, New York, and Cleveland. John Dalley made his concert debut at the age of fourteen. He has toured widely throughout Europe and Russia and, prior to joining the Quartet, served on the faculty of the Oberlin Conservatory and was Artist-in-Residence at the University of Illinois. Michael Tree, noted both as violist and violinist, made his Carnegie Hall debut at the age of twenty and has made solo appearances with the Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Los Angeles Orchestras, and at the Spoleto Festival. David Soyer, following a solo debut at the age of seventeen with The Philadelphia Orchestra, distinguished himself with the Bach Aria Group, the Marlboro Trio, the Guilet Quartet, and the New Music String Quartet.
This afternoon's program is the second of six to be presented in Ann Arbor over three successive seasons, in which the Guarneri will perform the complete cycle of Beethoven's string quartets. This afternoon's concert marks the Quartet's 18th Ann Arbor appearance.
The Quartet's Instruments
Arnold Steinhardt violin Lorenzo Storioni (Cremona)
John Dalley violin Nicolas Lupot (Paris 1810)
Michael Tree viola Dominicus Busan (Venice 1750)
David Soyer cello Andrea Guarneri (Cremona 1669)
Katia & Mauielle Labeque, Duo-pianists...................... Sun. Feb. 17
Brahms: Variations on a Theme by Haydn; Stravinsky: Concerto for Two Pianos; Ravel: Ma Mere l'Oyc; Gershwin: An American in Paris
Royal Philharmonic Yehudi Menuhin................... Tues. Feb. 19
Rossini: La Gazza Ladra Overture; Dclius: On Hearing the First Cuckoo in Spring; Elgar: Enigma Variations; Tchaikovsky: Symphony No. 6, "Pathetiquc"
Netherlands Wind Ensemble (newly announced)............ Wed. Feb. 20
Mozart: Highlights from The Abduction from the Seraglio; Gianni Possio: Serenata; Francesco Rosetti: Partita in E-flat; Mozart: Divertimento No. 4, K. 186; Franz Krommcr: Nonet, Op. 57
New York City Opera National Company.................Tues. Mar. 5
Verdi's Rigoletto Kodo.....................................................Thurs. Mar. 7
St. Luke's Chamber Ensemble............................... Fri. Mar. 8
Mozart: Divertimento; Zwilich: Double String Quartet; Mendelssohn: Octet (strings)
Paul Badura-Skoda, Pianist............................... Sun. Mar. 10
Bach: Partita No. 1 in B-flat; Frank Martin: Eight Preludes; Berg: Sonata in B minor, Op. 1; Bach: Partita No. 6 in E minor
Academy of Ancient Music..............................Thurs. Mar. 14
Christopher Hogwood, Conductor; Emma Kirkby, Soprano; David Thomas, Bass Handel: Water Music, and Cantata, Apollo and Dafrie
National Symphony Mstislav Rostropovich.............Wed. Mar. 20
Beethoven: Symphony No. 4; Shostakovich: Symphony No. 5
Faculty Artists Concert (free admission).................. Sun. Mar. 24
Rugglero Ricci, Violinist; Harry Sargous, Oboist, and School of Music String Ensemble, performing Bach Concertos
Sherrill Milnes, Baritone.................................... Fri. Mar. 29
Polish Chamber Orchestra.............................. Thurs. Apr. 18
Lutoslawski: Musique Funebre (1958); Haydn: Cello Concerto in C major; Rcger: Intermezzo; Shostakovich: Chamber Symphony, Op. 110
Ann Arbor May Festival 1985
Wednesday-Saturday, May 1, 2, 3, 4
The Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra The Festival Chorus, Donald Bryant, Director
Guest Conductors Sixten Ehrling Philippe Entremont Sir Alexander Gibson
Itzhak Perlman, Violinist Philippe Entremont, Pianist
Dame Kiri Te Kanawa, Soprano Henry Herford, Baritone Anne Martindale Williams, Cellist
Wednesday -Ehrling and Perlman: Nielsen: Maskarade Overture, Symphony No. 5; Tchaikovsky: Violin Concerto
Thursday -Entremont and Williams: Rimsky-Korsakov: Russian Easter Overture; Bloch: Schclomo -Hebrew Rhapsody; Mozart: Piano Concerto No. 17, K. 453; Ravel: Rapsodic espagnol
Friday -Gibson, Festival Chorus, and Herford; Berlioz: Roman Carnival Overture; Mozart: Symphony No. 40; Walton: Belshazzar's Feast
Saturday -Gibson and Te Kanawa: Handel: Overture in D, Arias from Rinaldo and Samson; Elgar: In the South; Britten: Four Sea Interludes from Peter Grimes; Strauss: Four Last Songs
Series tickets still available at $65, $50, $40, $30. Single concert tickets, from $9 to $21, available beginning March 1.
UNIVERSITY MUSICAL SOCIETY
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