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Carnegie Hall Presents

Danish String Quartet

Doppelgänger II
Thursday, April 21, 2022 7:30 PM Zankel Hall
Danish String Quartet
Experience the Danish String Quartet’s Doppelgänger project, a daring initiative in which composers create new works, co-commissioned by Carnegie Hall, in response to a masterwork by Schubert. The Austrian composer’s String Quartet in D Minor is a powerful meditation on death and takes its name from its second-movement set of variations on his song “Death and the Maiden.” Finnish composer Lotta Wennäkoski, praised for her mastery of color and musical textures, adds her unique compositional voice to this fascinating project. 

Performers

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

Program

SCHUBERT String Quartet in D Minor, D. 810, "Death and the Maiden"

LOTTA WENNÄKOSKI New Work (NY Premiere, co-commissioned by Carnegie Hall)

SCHUBERT "Der Tod und das Mädchen" ("Death and the Maiden"), D. 531 (arr. for string quartet by Danish String Quartet)

Event Duration

The printed program will last approximately 90 minutes, including one 20-minute intermission.


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.

At a Glance

SCHUBERT  String Quartet in D Minor, D. 810,  “Death and the Maiden”

Toward the end of his short life, Schubert became fixated on the idea of writing a “grand symphony” on the scale of Beethoven’s Ninth. Although that project never got off the drawing board, he hinted at its epic nature in the three great string quartets that he wrote between 1824 and 1826. Like its two companions, the Quartet in D Minor—which draws on thematic material from Schubert’s song “Death and the Maiden”—is a work of majestic proportions and elaborate thematic development.

 

LOTTA WENNÄKOSKI  Pige

The Danish String Quartet’s Doppelgänger project juxtaposes newly commissioned works by contemporary composers with four of Schubert’s late chamber-music masterpieces. In the second installment of the four-year venture, Finnish composer Lotta Wennäkoski responds to Schubert’s D-Minor Quartet, whose second movement is a set of variations on his song “Death and the Maiden.” (The project was launched last September with Bent Sørensen’s Doppelgänger; commissions by Anna Thorvaldsdottir and Thomas Adès are in the works.) Wennäkoski describes her music as a mixture of new and old: “I often choose to include some ‘conventional elements’ such as melodic fragments, but my textures are nevertheless colored by unusual playing techniques and nontraditional sounds.”

Bios

Danish String Quartet

The Grammy-nominated Danish String Quartet displays impeccable musicianship, sophisticated artistry, exquisite clarity of ensemble, and—above all—an expressivity inextricably bound to the music, from Haydn to Shostakovich to contemporary scores. The recipient of many awards and ...

The Grammy-nominated Danish String Quartet displays impeccable musicianship, sophisticated artistry, exquisite clarity of ensemble, and—above all—an expressivity inextricably bound to the music, from Haydn to Shostakovich to contemporary scores. The recipient of many awards and prestigious appointments, including Musical America’s 2020 Ensemble of the Year and the Borletti-Buitoni Trust, the quartet was named a 2013 BBC Radio 3 New Generation Artist and appointed to The Bowers Program (formerly CMS Two).

In the 2021–2022 season, the Danish String Quartet introduced Doppelgänger, an ambitious four-year international commissioning project that pairs world premieres from four renowned composers—Bent Sørensen, Lotta Wennäkoski, Anna Thorvaldsdottir, and Thomas Adès—with four major works from the masterful chamber music repertoire of Schubert. In addition, the quartet gives performances across North America, including debuts at the University of Georgia, Virginia Tech, Shriver Hall in Baltimore, and Virginia Arts Festival; return trips to Boston’s Celebrity Series, Philadelphia Chamber Music Society, Ensemble Music Society of Indianapolis, Chamber Music Cincinnati, and University of Washington’s Meany Hall; and a tour of Florida. European highlights include tours of Denmark, France, Germany, and concerts in Amsterdam.

As part of a multi-year residency, the Danish String Quartet brought a series of five concerts that mirror the programs in its ongoing recording project with ECM New Series, PRISM, to La Jolla Music Society in 2019. Each PRISM program is an exploration of the symbiotic musical and contextual relationships between J. S. Bach fugues, Beethoven string quartets, and works by Shostakovich, Schnittke, Bartók, Felix Mendelssohn, and Webern. Prism I, the first disc of this five-album project, was released in 2018 and garnered a Grammy. Prism II was subsequently released in 2019 to rave reviews, including a five-star review from BBC Music Magazine, “Best Classical Music of 2019” from The New York Times, and “Classical Music You Must Hear” from Apple Music. Prism III—featuring Beethoven’s String Quartet in C-sharp Minor, Op. 131, Bartók’s First String Quartet, and Bach’s Fugue in C-sharp Minor, BWV 849, from The Well-Tempered Clavier—was released in 2021.  

The Danish String Quartet takes an active role in reaching new audiences through special projects. In 2007, the ensemble established the DSQ Festival, which takes place in an intimate and informal setting at Copenhagen’s Bygningskulturens Hus. In 2016, the quartet inaugurated a new music festival, Series of Four, in which it both performs and invites colleagues—including Quatuor Ébène and mandolin player Chris Thile, among others—to appear at the venerable Danish Radio Concert Hall. Concerts this season featured collaborations with iconic Scandinavian artists Andreas Brantelid, Lars Ulrik Mortensen, and the Danish National Girls Choir.

Violinists Frederik Øland and Rune Tonsgaard Sørenson, and violist Asbjørn Nørgaard met as children at a music summer camp where they played soccer and made music together. As teenagers, they began the study of classical chamber music and were mentored by Tim Frederiksen of Copenhagen’s Royal Danish Academy of Music. In 2008, the three Danes were joined by Norwegian cellist Fredrik Schøyen Sjölin.

 

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