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  • Carnegie Hall Presents
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CARNEGIE HALL PRESENTS

Danish String Quartet
Torleif Thedéen

Wednesday, October 26, 2016 7:30 PM Zankel Hall
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Valedictory chamber works by Shostakovich and Schubert are performed by the Danish String Quartet, an ensemble The New York Times lauded for its “glowing sound” and about whom The Boston Globe said, “Even by today’s high standards, it offers something very special.” Shostakovich’s final string quartet bids farewell to friends, family, and life with six heartbreaking and poignant slow movements. Schubert adds a second cello to his String Quintet in C Major, D. 956—a work that is by turns joyful and eternal. Written two months before the composer’s death, the music doesn’t brood, but soars on gorgeous melodies that express a range of complex emotions.

Performers

Danish String Quartet
·· Frederik Øland, Violin
·· Rune Tonsgaard Sørensen, Violin
·· Asbjørn Nørgaard, Viola
·· Fredrik Schøyen Sjölin, Cello

Torleif Thedéen, Cello

Program

SHOSTAKOVICH String Quartet No. 15 in E-flat Minor, Op. 144
SCHUBERT String Quintet in C Major, D. 956

Encore:
NIELSEN "Underlige aftenlufte" (arr. Rune Tonsgaard Sørensen)

Event Duration

The printed program will last approximately two hours, including one 20-minute intermission. Please note that there will be no late seating before intermission.

This concert is supported in part by The Barbro Osher Pro Suecia Foundation.

At a Glance

DMITRI SHOSTAKOVICH  String Quartet No. 15 in E-flat Minor, Op. 144

More than any composer since Beethoven, Shostakovich employed the string quartet as a vehicle for his deepest ruminations on the human condition. The last of his 15 quartets, written in 1974, is almost unremittingly dark and elegiac in character. Its six interconnected movements convey a mixture of fatalistic resignation and grim, almost morbid intensity, possibly reflecting the ailing composer’s awareness of his own mortality. (He died the following year.) At the same time, the Op. 144 Quartet bears Shostakovich’s stylistic fingerprints in its extremes of mood and register; its spare, linear textures; and an insistent, often savage rhythmic impulse.


FRANZ SCHUBERT  String Quintet in C Major, D. 956

Written in 1828, the String Quintet in C Major is Schubert’s last, and arguably greatest, piece of extended chamber music. Amazingly, it didn’t receive its first public performance until 1850. (Many of Schubert’s other works, including most of his string quartets and symphonies, were similarly neglected for decades after his death.) A listener commenting on the premiere years later recalled, “Never has this work presented itself to my ear with such ravishing beauty of sound and such captivating verve as when it was played by these Viennese gentlemen.” It may have been the success of that performance that led to the belated publication of the String Quintet in 1853; since then, its greatness has never been in dispute. 

Bios

Danish String Quartet


Frederik Øland, Violin
Rune Tonsgaard Sørensen, Violin
Asbjørn Nørgaard, Viola
Fredrik Schøyen Sjölin, Cello

Embodying the quintessential elements of a fine chamber music ensemble, the Danish String Quartet has established a reputation for its integrated sound, impeccable intonation, and judicious balance. Since making their debut in 2002 at the Copenhagen Festival, the musical friends have demonstrated a passion for Scandinavian composers, whose works they frequently incorporate into adventurous contemporary programs, while also giving skilled and profound interpretations of the classical masters. The New York Times selected the quartet's concerts as highlights of the season during its Chamber Music Society Two residency at Lincoln Center. Last February, the foursome received the Borletti-Buitoni Trust Award.

The Danish String Quartet's 2016-2017 season includes debuts at the Edinburgh Festival. In addition to more than 30 North American engagements, its robust international schedule takes the members to their home country, Denmark, as well as throughout Germany, Austria, the UK, Poland, Israel, Argentina, Peru, and Colombia. As a champion of contemporary music from Scandinavian composers, the quartet premiered Swans Kissing by Rolf Wallin, which is based on the series of paintings by Swedish painter Hilma af Klint. Earlier this month, they presented their 10th annual DSQ Festival, a four-day event in Copenhagen that brings together artists the four musicians have met during their travels.

The quartet's recent debut recording on ECM Records features works by Danish composers Hans Abrahamsen and Per Nørgård, and English composer Thomas Adès; it received the Guardian's highest rating and debuted at number 16 on the Billboard Classical Chart. In addition to its commitment to highlighting Scandinavian composers, the Danish String Quartet derives great pleasure in Nordic folk music.

In 2009, the quartet won first prize in the 11th London International String Quartet Competition (now called the Wigmore Hall International String Quartet Competition), as well as four additional prizes from the same jury. The ensemble received the 2010 NORDMETALL-Ensemble Prize at the Mecklenburg-Vorpommern Festival in Germany; the following year, the Danish String Quartet won the prestigious Carl Nielsen Prize. 

Torleif Thedéen


Torleif Thedéen is a highly regarded cellist who regularly performs with many of the world's major orchestras, including the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Oslo Philharmonic, London Philharmonic Orchestra, Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra, Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra, Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra, Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra, Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, Vienna Symphony, BBC Philharmonic, Berliner Philharmoniker, Moscow Philharmonic Orchestra, Czech Philharmonic, and Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra. He has collaborated with numerous conductors, including Esa-Pekka Salonen, Paavo Berglund, Neeme Järvi, Gennady Rozhdestvensky, Leif Segerstam, and Eri Klas.

Mr. Thedéen is also active as a chamber musician, appearing in such prestigious concert venues as Wigmore Hall, Carnegie Hall, and Amsterdam's Concertgebouw. He often participates in music festivals throughout Europe, including Verbier, Prague Spring, and Schleswig-Holstein, as well as festivals in Bordeaux, Oslo, and Stavanger (Norway).

He recently performed the Dutilleux Cello Concerto with the Stuttgart Philharmonic Orchestra, and the Brahms Double Concerto with Janine Jansen and the Hallé Orchestra in Manchester. In 2011-2012, he toured extensively with Ms. Jansen and Max Rysanov, performing at the Helleruplund Kirke and the Hørsholm Musikforening in Denmark, and in Australasia with the Auckland Philharmonia and the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra.

Mr. Thedéen has recorded numerous CDs for BIS Records, including the renowned Dvořák Cello Concerto. His CD of Shostakovich's cello concertos won the Cannes Classical Award, and his recording of Bach's solo cello suites was named Editor's Choice in BBC Music Magazine.

In 1992, Mr. Thedéen became a professor at the Royal Danish Academy of Music in Copenhagen. Four years later, he was named a professor at Edsberg Manor at the Royal College of Music in Stockholm. He performs on a cello crafted by David Tecchler in 1711, which was formerly played by Lynn Harrell.

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