Monthly Archives: October 2016

Hayden, Bartok and Beethoven

By guest writer Julie Berridge

On November 10, we will be enriched by the music of Hayden, Bartok and Beethoven, played by The Quatuor Arthur-LeBlanc.  Read more about the concert here – http://music-toronto.com/quartets/arthur_Leblanc.htm

Hayden

The evening opens with Haydn’s Quartet in G Major, Op. 77, No.1.  Commissioned by Prince Joseph Lobkowitz and composed in 1799, it is one of Haydn’s most modern quartets.  It’s a relaxed and light-hearted work. Sometimes unadorned. Sometimes embellished.  And from start to finish, catchy and playful.

 

Bartok

Like Many of Bartok’s pieces, Quartet No. 4 has an archlike structure.  The first and fifth movements share related themes, as do the second and fourth.  The third movement stands alone.  Movements I, III and V are approximately six minutes long, and movements II and IV are about 3 minutes long.  The first movement transitions from clusters of notes to full cords.  The second movement is quick.  Full of trills, fast scales, and vibrato.  In the third movement, we hear elements of the folk and night music that Bartok is so well-known for.  Bartok’s pizzicato, the slapping sounds of the strings against the fingerboard, resulting from the aggressive plucking of the strings can be heard in the fourth movement.  The final movement features a recast of many of the themes in the first movement.

 

Beethoven

Beethoven’s Quartet in C Major, Op. 59, No. 3, “Rasumovsky”, opens in the first movement with an aura of mystery but soon transitions into what has been described as “party music accompanied by fireworks”.  A playground frolic with notes tossing back and forth.  The second movement is composed in the style of a Venetian boat song.  The third is delicate and beautifully intertwined, leading us to the final movement, a fast and vigorous fugue.

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Composers

Quatuor Arthur-LeBlanc

Since the fall of 2005, Quatuor Arthur-LeBlanc has been the quartet-in-residence at the Université Laval in Quebec City.  The four members of the quartet – Hibiki Kobayashi (violin), Brett Molzan (violin), Jean-Luc Plourde (viola) and Ryan Molzan (cello) – all teach the art of string quartets and chamber music at the university as well.

The quartet is named after Arthur LeBlanc who was born near Moncton in 1906 and died in Quebec City in 1985.  He was a violinist and composer who spent most of his youth in Moncton and then studied and lived in Quebec.  He attended the School of Music at Université Laval in 1922, one of the first to enrol in the school.  Later in life he would also teach at Université Laval.

He had a very busy career performing concerts and teaching.  He performed overseas, in the US, and in Canada – at one point performing 26 concerts in 6 weeks.  Health reasons dictated less touring after 1953 but he continued to perform for programs on radio and television.  Some of those programs included pieces he had composed as well.

You can hear this quartet named in his honour perform live on November 10th as part of our String Series!  The evening will include pieces by Haydn, Bartok, and Beethoven.  http://music-toronto.com/quartets/arthur_Leblanc.htm

Leave a comment

Filed under Performers

Janina Fialkowska

Janina is no stranger to our regular audience members. This year she is celebrating turning 65 by touring and performing an all Chopin programme!

We last heard her exquisite playing in 2014 and you can read a bit about her in our blog post from then – https://mtochambermusic.wordpress.com/2014/10/16/janina-fialkowska/

Adding to the many critically acclaimed CDs she has produced over that past 40 years of her career, since her 2014 visit to us, she has released two additional CDs – one of lyric pieces by Edvard Grieg and another with a few works by Franz Schubert. This week her recording of Chopin’s Sonatas, Etudes & Impromptus (2 CDs) was listed as part of the top 50 greatest Chopin recordings on Gramophone. http://www.gramophone.co.uk/feature/the-50-greatest-chopin-recordings-2

You can read much more about Janina from Janina herself on her own website – http://www.fialkowska.com/home.html

Come and hear this great Romantic pianist on October 25, 2016 at the St. Lawrence Centre for the Arts for a wonderful evening of Chopin!  http://music-toronto.com/piano/fialkowska.htm

Leave a comment

Filed under Performers

Beethoven and Bartok

by guest blogger Julie Berridge

On Thursday, October 13 2016, The Juilliard Quartet performs Beethoven and Bartok.

The evening opens with Beethoven’s String Quartet in F minor, Op.95, written in 1810.

The quartet was written soon after Napoleon invaded Vienna for the second time in 1809, occupying and bombarding the city for one night. Beethoven reportedly hid in the cellar, and covered his head with pillows, during that night.

The first 8 bars of Opus 95 include tempestuous and dotted rhythms, and a chorale.  In the first movement, instruments are assigned highly changeable roles.  The second movement provides a hymn like lyrical pause between movements, and the third and fourth movements are a return to the hectic tumultuous mood of the first.

Bartok – Quartet No. 1

This quartet which actually consists of three movements has been described as one of Bartok’s “tamest” string quartets.  He composed the piece for Stefi Geyer, a violinist with whom he fell in love.  Around the same time, Bartok had rejected the Catholicism he was brought up in, and declared himself an atheist.  The opening movement is slow and somewhat subdued at the start, and then it rises to a grand climax and then ends quietly.  The second movement is energetic, though at times ethereal.  It, also ends quietly.  Not so the third movement which is fiery, even to its ending.

 

Ludwig van Beethoven

String Quartet No. 7 in F major (“Rasumovsky No. 1”), Op. 59/1

Beethoven wrote these quartets in 1806 for Count Rasumovsky.  Initially, they were not well received.

The quartet begins in an amiable manner but soon fragments into sudden shifts of mood and colour. When first written, they were described by violinist Felix Radicati as “not music”.  The cellist Bernhard Romberg is said to have thrown the music on the ground and stomped on it.

In February 27, 1807, a piece in the Allgemeine Musikalische Zeitung was a bit kinder.  It read,

“Three new, very long and difficult Beethoven string quartets … are attracting the attention of all connoisseurs. The conception is profound and the construction excellent, but they are not easily comprehended.”

Of the quartets, Beethoven presciently said to his critics, “They are not for you, but for a later age”.  For us, they may be perfect.

Leave a comment

Filed under Composers