WOLFGANG AMADEUS MOZART String Quartet in D Major, K. 499, "Hoffmeister"
Like the other two works on tonight's program, Mozart's D-Major Quartet was written by special request—in this case, for a Viennese publisher who was keen to cash in on the 30-year-old composer's fame and proven crowd-pleasing ability. Roughly contemporary with Le nozze di Figaro and the C-Minor Piano Concerto, the "Hoffmeister" Quartet is a tuneful, ingratiating, yet highly sophisticated work that offers something for amateurs and connoisseurs alike.
WITOLD LUTOSŁAWSKI String Quartet
Polish composer Witold Lutosławski established his reputation in the second half of the 20th century with such works as the modernist tone poem Mi-Parti, the dreamy Les espaces du sommeil for baritone and orchestra, and the richly colored Third Symphony. His one and only String Quartet, distinguished by its innovative formal structure and use of chance techniques, was commissioned by Swedish Radio and premiered in Stockholm by the LaSalle Quartet on March 12, 1965.
LUDWIG VAN BEETHOVEN String Quartet in E-flat Major, Op. 74, "Harp"
Along with the three "Razumovsky" quartets and the Op. 95 "Serioso" Quartet, the E-flat–Major Quartet of 1809 exemplifies the "heroic" and boldly unconventional style of Beethoven's so-called middle period. The Mozartean classicism of his early Op. 18 quartets, composed between 1798 and 1800, belonged almost to a different world. Dedicated to two of the composer's patrons, the "Harp" Quartet takes its name from the leaping pizzicato figures in the first movement.