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  • Carnegie Hall Presents
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CARNEGIE HALL PRESENTS

Belcea Quartet

Friday, October 21, 2016 7:30 PM Zankel Hall
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String quartets by Schubert frame an autobiographical quartet by Shostakovich. Schubert’s String Quartet in E-flat Major is a delightful work that charms with its Beethoven-like Scherzo and serene Adagio, while the String Quartet in G Major’s expansive and noble opening movement sets the stage for an adventurous and deeply felt work that concludes with a delicious dance in which the composer bids farewell to the quartet genre. Shostakovich’s dramatic, sardonic, and elegiac String Quartet No. 8 is one of the 20th century’s great works. He dedicated it to the victims of fascism and war, but it’s also a pained self-portrait. The five movements are played without pause, as Shostakovich quotes themes from his earlier music as well as motifs from Wagner and Tchaikovsky.

Performers

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

Program

SCHUBERT String Quartet in E-flat Major, D. 87
SHOSTAKOVICH String Quartet No. 8 in C Minor
SCHUBERT String Quartet in G Major, D. 887

Encore:
SHOSTAKOVICH DMITRI SHOSTAKOVICH Allegro non troppo from String Quartet No. 3 in F Major, Op. 73

Event Duration

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

At a Glance

FRANZ SCHUBERT  String Quartet in E-flat Major, D. 87

Schubert completed a total of 15 string quartets, the first when he was barely 13 years old and the last some two years before his untimely death. The winsome Quartet in E-flat Major—written in 1813 but not published until 1840, long after Schubert’s death—is the work of a precocious 16-year-old already fluent in the idiom of Haydn, Mozart, and Beethoven and poised to leap into new territory.


DMITRI SHOSTAKOVICH  String Quartet No. 8 in C Minor, Op. 110

Perhaps more than any composer since Beethoven, Shostakovich used the string quartet as a vehicle for his deepest ruminations on the human condition. Among the 15 quartets that he produced between 1935 and 1974, Op. 110 stands out for its bleakly existential introspection. Although Shostakovich dedicated the 1960 work “to the victims of fascism and war,” the pervasive use of his four-note musical signature and the embedded allusions to his earlier works indicate additional, more personal layers of meaning.


FRANZ SCHUBERT  String Quartet in G Major, D. 887

In the mid-1820s as illness and financial trouble started to interfere in his life, Schubert found compositional motivation in the idea of writing a “grand symphony” on the scale of Beethoven’s Ninth. Although that ambitious project never came to fruition, his last three quartets—the G-Major Quartet of 1826 and the quartets in A minor (“Rosamunde”) and D minor (“Death and the Maiden”), both written in 1824—were clearly conceived on a symphonic scale.

Bios

Belcea Quartet


Corina Belcea and Axel Schacher, Violins
Krzysztof Chorzelski, Viola
Antoine Lederlin, Cello

"What seems to be the predominant impulse driving [Beethoven's] music is man's yearning for freedom, the unquenchable desire to expand his limits and to learn the truth about himself in this process."

These words by the Belcea Quartet--from the preface to its recording Beethoven: The Complete String Quartets--could also be described as the ensemble's artistic creed. These musicians are not confined by traditional boundaries. It is perhaps the very fact of the group's diverse cultural backgrounds that propels the dynamic and free interpretative style.

In the 2016-2017 season, the quartet performs in such venues as Wigmore Hall in London, Carnegie Hall in New York City, and the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam. Although best known for its interpretations of established masterpieces, the music of the 21st century will also feature prominently in the Belcea Quartet's 20th anniversary celebrations; the centerpiece will be the world premiere of the Fourth String Quartet by Krzysztof Penderecki.

The Belcea Quartet's performances of the complete Beethoven string quartets at the Vienna Konzerthaus in 2012 were broadcast by Mezzo TV and released by the EuroArts label in the fall of 2014. The release was accompanied by Jean-Claude Mocik's documentary of the entire project, Looking for Beethoven.

The Belcea Quartet has shared a residence at the Vienna Konzerthaus with the Artemis Quartet since 2010. The musicians recently created their own Belcea Charitable Trust, which aims to support and inspire young string quartets through a series of intensive coaching sessions, as well as commission new works to be premiered by the quartet in the future.

During its long-term association with EMI Classics, the Belcea Quartet has recorded the complete string quartets of Britten and Bartók, as well as works by Schubert, Brahms, Mozart, Debussy, Ravel, and Dutilleux, among others. In 2012 and 2013, the quartet recorded Beethoven: The Complete String Quartets in concert at the Benjamin Britten Studio at Snape in Suffolk County, England. The recording was released by Zig-Zag Territoires, the quartet's new label, and has received such accolades as the ECHO Klassik Award. In 2015, the quartet released its highly acclaimed recording of works by Webern, Berg, and Schoenberg to coincide with its 20th anniversary jubilee. This fall sees the release of the Belcea Quartet's recording of the complete Brahms string quartets and his Piano Quintet.

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