Thu Jan 25 2018
The Complete Beethoven Cycle 5
Triskel Arts Centre, Tobin St.
Doors 6:30 pm - Admission: €12/€10
RTÉ Contempo Quartet – Beethoven Music for a Later Age
Beethoven String Quartet No. 5, Op. 18 No. 5 in A
Ina Boyle String Quartet in E minor
Beethoven String Quartet No. 11, Op. 95 in F
Creative tensions between the past and the future flared up in the sinewy compression of Beethoven’s Fifth Quartet. And found grave intensity in the Op.95 ‘Quartetto Serioso’. Ina Boyle’s only String Quartet bears the bucolic stamp of early 20th-Century English Pastoralism.
By the end of Beethoven’s Op. 18 Quartets, Mozart continued to exert an influence and Haydn was still composing. The resulting creative tension between the past and Beethoven’s ambition to forge a new musical language became more pronounced.
The most Mozartian of all Beethoven’s Quartets in design and execution, the Fifth Quartet owes much, including its key signature, to Mozart’s Eighteenth Quartet (K464).
Anticipating the granitic intensity of the late quartets, the Eleventh Quartet charts how far Beethoven had travelled in the preceding decade. He labelled it his ‘Quartetto Serioso’.
Ina Boyle was one of the most serious-minded Irish composers of her generation. The distinguishing tone of her 1934 String Quartet is one of gentle rhapsody, her harmonic language indebted to the English school of the early 20th Century.
Beethoven’s sixteen quartets and the Grosse Fugue still stand today as some of the most extraordinary and innovative music ever composed. Written over a span of thirty years in roughly three blocks, Beethoven took the form, perfected by “Papa Haydn” and developed further by Mozart , completely revising and transforming it.
Nos. 1-6, written when he was in his late twenties were early explorations into the form and although lighter than many of the later works there is always a dark side too. The Middle Quartets have at their core the three Razumovskys, commissioned by Count (later Prince) Razumovsky which included Russian themes. Already aware of his deafness, he wrote on one of the sketches:
“Make no secret of your deafness, not even in art!”
The five Late Quartets and Grosse Fugue undoubtedly represent the ultimate in quartet writing, the very best of Beethoven’s genius, described by him to his musicians as:
“music not for you, but for a later age”
Ten Irish works complement each of the nine programmes, with works dating from 1934 to the present day, including three new RTÉ commissions.
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