The sounds of Vienna will be heard in Newton Abbot: the Courtenay Centre will fill with the music of Haydn, Berg and Beethoven performed by the young Barbican String Quartet.
Four international musicians: four unique personalities: one string quartet. The Barbican Quartet is an original voice on the chamber music scene, delighting audiences with their intimately powerful performances and virtuosic ensemble playing.
This quartet boasts a dazzling array of plaudits: first prize at the 2019 Joseph Joachim International Chamber Music Competition as well as the 2018 St Martin-in-the-Fields Chamber Music Competition. Its Wigmore Hall debut was in 2017 thanks to the Maisie Lewis Award, and in 2018 the Royal Philharmonic Society awarded the Albert and Eugenie Frost Prize. In 2020 it was selected as the St John Smith Square Young Artists for 2020.
Spanning 130 years
The Barbican have chosen to play a concert of Viennese music spanning 130 years from the late 18th to early 20th centuries. The three composers (Haydn, Beethoven and Berg) revolutionised their musical worlds. Haydn is known as the father of the string quartet. It seems that his very first quartets were composed purely by chance! He was asked to write music for four amateur string players, and his subsequent 68 quartets developed as a result. Op 50 No 1, to be played in this concert, is full of his joy, fun and delightful dance melodies. It was written when he was 55 years old and master of his craft.
Worlds of emotion
Then, composed more than a century later, the Barbican Quartet has chosen the String Quartet Op 3 by Alban Berg. Although he left a relatively small oeuvre, he is remembered as one of the most important composers of the 20th century for his expressive style encompassing ‘entire worlds of emotion and structure’. The basis of the whole work is the concept of ‘developing variation’ in which an idea is constantly modified, giving rise to new motives and new variants. It takes us through eerie calm, occasionally almost suspended animation, tension and tempest with sudden contrasts in mood and dynamic.
To close their concert, the Barbican Quartet plays Beethoven’s String Quartet No 15 in A minor, Op 132. One of his late quartets, it’s a momentous work of monumental proportions. Extremely complex and largely misunderstood by musicians and audiences of his day, the late quartets are now widely considered to be among the greatest musical compositions of all time, and have inspired many composers.
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