Performance Wednesday, October 22, 2014 | 7:30 PM

Belcea Quartet

Zankel Hall
The Guardian said, “The Belceas still play like a young quartet, seizing the music’s energy, shocking us out of our seats with every fortissimo.” The three works on the program were all premiered in Vienna. Mozart’s F-Major Quartet, his last in the form, was commissioned by the King of Prussia, an amateur cellist and, of course, features a number of cello solos. Brahms’s C-Minor Quartet’s intensity is supported by its rich textures. Berg’s Lyric Suite burns with a white-hot passion, underscoring its tragic tone.


  • Belcea Quartet
    ·· Corina Belcea, Violin
    ·· Axel Schacher, Violin
    ·· Krzysztof Chorzelski, Viola
    ·· Antoine Lederlin, Cello


  • MOZART String Quartet in F Major, K. 590
  • BERG Lyric Suite
  • BRAHMS String Quartet in C Minor, Op. 51, No. 1

Event Duration

The printed program will last approximately two hours, including one 20-minute intermission.


  • Belcea Quartet

    The Belcea Quartet has gained an enviable reputation as one of the leading quartets of its generation. The ensemble was established at the Royal College of Music in 1994 and is the quartet-in-residence at both London's Guildhall School of Music and Drama and the Vienna Konzerthaus, where it shares the position with the Artemis Quartet.

    The Belcea Quartet has an impressive discography. During its long-term association with EMI Classics, the quartet recorded the complete Britten and Bartók quartets, as well as works by Schubert, Brahms, Mozart, Debussy, Ravel, and Dutilleux, among others. In 2012 and 2013, the quartet recorded the complete Beethoven string quartets live in the Benjamin Britten Studio in Snape, England. This recording was released under the quartet's new label, Zig-Zag Territoires. As with its predecessors, this CD has been met with critical acclaim, and it received the ECHO Klassik Award.

    The Belcea Quartet's performances of the complete Beethoven string quartets at Vienna's Konzerthaus were filmed in May 2012 and will be released on Blu-ray this fall. This release will be accompanied by Jean-Claude Mocik's documentary of the entire project, Looking for Beethoven.

    In the 2014-2015 season, the Belcea Quartet continues its high-profile engagements in the world's leading concert halls, including London's Wigmore Hall and Vienna's Konzerthaus. In December 2014, the quartet will give the world premiere of Mark-Anthony Turnage's new work Contusion. Fall 2015 will mark the beginning of the quartet's 20th-anniversary celebrations.

    More Info


Brahms's String Quartet in C Minor, Op. 51 No. 1 (Allegro)
Belcea Quartet

At a Glance

WOLFGANG AMADEUS MOZART  String Quartet in F Major, K. 590

The three quartets that Mozart wrote in 1789 and 1790 for the cello-playing Prussian monarch Friedrich Wilhelm II are his last and among his finest contributions to the genre. Roughly contemporaneous with the comic opera Così fan tutte and the Clarinet Quintet, K. 581, the “Prussian” Quartets combine elegance, wit, and virtuosity in equal measure. 

ALBAN BERG Lyric Suite

Berg was in his mid-40s when he wrote his best-known piece of chamber music as a cryptic love letter to his paramour, Hanna Fuchs-Robettin. Like Berg’s opera Wozzeck and other works, the Lyric Suite fuses a strict, modernist 12-tone idiom with a freer romantic impulse. The suite’s “secret program” made headlines around the world when it was brought to light by American composer and musicologist George Perle in the June 1977 issue of the Newsletter of the International Alban Berg Society.  

JOHANNES BRAHMS  String Quartet in C Minor, Op. 51, No. 1

The mercilessly self-critical Brahms dismissed his C-Minor Quartet as “mean and paltry,” but posterity has rendered a different verdict on his masterpiece. The two Op. 51 quartets are dedicated to Theodor Billroth, Brahms’s surgeon friend in Vienna and an accomplished amateur violist. Billroth knew better than to take the composer’s self-judgment at face value. “These dedications will keep our names known longer than our best work,” he remarked to a fellow dedicatee.

Program Notes
This concert is made possible, in part, by an endowment fund for young artists established by Mr. and Mrs. Anthony B. Evnin and the A. E. Charitable Foundation.
This performance is part of Magic of Mozart, and Chamber Sessions II.