Tag Archives: Haydn

Quatuor Mosaïques

On Thursday, October 19, 2017, Quatuor Mosaïques will open our 46th season!

This Austrian Quartet was formed in 1987 and celebrates their 30th anniversary this year. With a focus on 18th century music, they play on historical instruments. They are the foremost European quartet playing on period instruments.

The quartet players and their instruments are: Erich Höbarth (violin, J. Guarnerius filius Andreae, Cremona 1705), Andrea Bischof (violin, 18th century French), Anita Mitterer (viola, Girolamo Devirchis, Brescia 1588), Christophe Coin (cello, C..A. Testore, Milano 1758). The quartet members met while playing with Concentus Musicus Wien, the first professional Baroque orchestra formed by Nikolaus Harnoncourt.

Quatuor Mosaïques tours the world and records. We are thrilled that everything has at long last aligned and we are able to present their Toronto debut! Join us on October 29th for some Mozart and Haydn string quartets.

Check out more about Quatuor Mosaïques here – www.kirshbaumassociates.com/artist.php?id=qm


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Philharmonia Quartett Berlin

March 16, 2017 will be the 8th concert that the Philharmonia Quartett Berlin has played for us over the years.  Daniel Stabrawa (violin), Christian Stadelmann (violin), and Neithard Resa (viola) are all original members of the 32 year old quartet.  Dietmar Schwalke (cello) joined them in 2009 after the sudden passing of Jan Diesselhorst.

All four members of the quartet are part of the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra.  Daniel is the 1st Concertmaster and occasionally conducts the orchestra.  Christian is the Leader of the 2nd Violins.  Of the four, Neithard is the longest-serving member of the orchestra, originally becoming a member in 1978.  He served as Principal Violist until 2010.  Joining the orchestra in 1994, Dietmar is the ‘newest’ of the four.  In addition to the Quartet, he is involved in a number of chamber groups associated with the orchestra such as the 12 Cellist of the Berlin Philharmonic and the Berlin Philharmonic Capriccio.

Somehow with all of the demands on their schedules for performances and teaching, they have still managed to release a number of recordings over the years.  Their most recent ones are from 2014 (Beethoven) and 2015 (Brahms).

Join us on March 16th to hear Haydn’s Quartet in G major, Op. 64, No. 4, Beethoven’s Quartet in B-flat Major, Op. 18, No. 6 and Schumann’s Quartet in A Minor, Op. 41, No. 1.   http://www.music-toronto.com/quartets/berlin.htm

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St. Lawrence String Quartet 2017

The St. Lawrence Quartet is back on our stage on January 26, 2017!  They have been performing on our stage since 1992 and are known world-wide as a very respected quartet.

Geoff Nuttall (violin), Owen Dalby (violin), Lesley Robertson (viola), and Christopher Costanza (cello) all return to perform the following programme this year for our audience:

Haydn – Quartet in E-flat Major, Op. 20, No. 1

Jonathan Berger – “Swallow” (2014), written for the SLSQ

Leos Janacek – String Quartet No. 1, “Kreutzer Sonata”

Haydn – Quartet in F Minor, Op. 20, No. 5


The SLSQ is the quartet in residence at Stanford University.  For several years the quartet has been involved in a summer Chamber Music Seminar held there.  The dates for 2017 are from June 24 to July 2 and applications are being accepted until February 1, 2017.  This seminar gives attendees the opportunity to focus on chamber music by working with the SLSQ and special guest teachers.  For more information, visit this link https://music.stanford.edu/ensembles-lessons/ensemble-in-residence-slsq/slsq-stanford/seminar

We have a few previous blog postings on the SLSQ here on this site so feel free to do a quick search and read some of our past thoughts.  If you would like more information on the quartet or its members, you can find all of that on their website at http://www.slsq.com/   And to hear them in person in Toronto, come and join us on January 26, 2017 http://music-toronto.com/

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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


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.



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’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.

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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

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Gryphon Trio – February 26, 2015 concert

By guest contributor Julie Berridge

On February 26 the Gryphon Trio brings us music from a prolific composer of music’s classical period – Haydn, born in 1732; Franz Peter Schubert born in 1797; some very young composers from the Claude Watson program at Earl Haig Secondary School, and Dinuk Wijeratne, a Sri Lankan born, Dubai raised, Canadian based composer, conductor and pianist.

Haydn and Schubert lived in somewhat different worlds in the same country. Haydn spent much of his career as a court musician for the wealthy Esterházy family at their remote estates far from Vienna. Being far away from Vienna, Haydn did not often get to enjoy Vienna’s vibrant entertainment scene. The following excerpt is taken from a letter he wrote to his friend Maria Anna von Genzinger dated February 9, 1790

Well here I sit in my wilderness; forsaken, like some poor orphan, almost without human society; melancholy, dwelling on the memory of past glorious days. Yes; past, alas! And who can tell when these happy hours may return? Those charming meetings? Where the whole circle have but one heart and one soul–all those delightful musical evenings, which can only be remembered, and not described. Where are all those inspired moments? All gone–and gone for long.

In contrast, Schubert’s working life was filled with gaiety. He would compose in the morning, go to coffee shops in the afternoon and then to sing-alongs at the homes of friends in the evening. The delightful musical evenings that Haydn longed for were a regular feature of Schubert’s life.

Dinuk Wijeratne was born in Sri Lanka grew up in Dubai, and acquired his musical education in the UK, and in the US at the Juilliard school of music. He is now based in Canada where for the 9th season he is Director of the Nova Scotia Youth Orchestra.

So what do these composers and artistes have in common? Three words come immediately to mind: adventure, invention and evolution.

Of Haydn, American musicologist Barbara Russano Hanning has noted, “His compositions had broad appeal because they combined the familiar with the unexpected”.

Of Wijeratne, The New York Times says he can “transform his instrument [the piano] into a drum, a zither and a scampering melodic partner”. The Halifax Chronicle Herald states that “Dinuk Wijeratne’s boundary-crossing work sees him equally at home in collaborations with symphony orchestras and string quartets, tabla players and DJs…”

Schubert’s work has been cited as the source of the modern pop song. The Emmy award winning British composer Howard Goodall in drawing links between the songs of British pop singer Adele and Schubert, has said, “Strip away the cultural differences, the clothes and anything that dates them, and there is a strong connection”.

The Young Composer Project at the Claude Watson Arts program at Earl Haig Secondary School will bring to us the music of young high school composers. Again: adventure, invention and evolution.

The evening promises a musical exploration of all of these concepts. Not to mention, delight.

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Haydn is known as the Father of the String Quartet. He was born in a village in Austria on the border with Hungary. His parents were well placed in the village with his father holding the position of what today would be the mayor. While neither of his parents had formal music training, they both enjoyed music and encouraged it within the family. Recognizing young Haydn’s talent but knowing that there was no serious training in their village, Haydn’s parents apprenticed him to a relative in Hainburg, the choirmaster. He left home at the age of 6 and never lived with his parents again.

Life was not easy for Haydn as a child away from home. Not always properly fed, he sang and learned to play the violin and harpsichord. Around the age of 17, he was dismissed by his current employer and turned out into the streets. Taken in by a friend, he started his freelance music career. Hard work, many jobs, and some self teaching followed. And obviously paid off as he became one of the most well known and respected composers.

In our upcoming season, we will hear five of his pieces:

  • Quartet in D Major, Op. 33, No. 6 played by Quatuor Mosaiques (Oct 19, 2017)
  • Piano Trio in E-flat Major, XV:29 played by the Gryphon Trio (Dec 7, 2017)
  • Quartet in C Major, Op. 33, No. 3, “The Bird” played by the St. Lawrence Quartet (Feb 1, 2018)
  • Quartet in D Major, Op. 64, No. 5, “The Lark” played by the Apollon Musagete Quartet (Feb 22, 2018)
  • Quartet in B-flat Major, Op. 76, No. 4, “Sunrise” played by the Schumann Quartet (Apr 12, 2018)

Find out more about any of these concerts on our website – http://music-toronto.com/season.htm


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Mathias Haydn

Last week we took a look at Beethoven’s parents. This week, let’s look at Mathias Haydn, father to composer Franz Joseph, composer Johann Michael Haydn and tenor Johann Evangelist.

Mathias was born in 1699 in the small town of Hainburg. His father, Thomas, was a wheelwright and Mathias followed in his footsteps. After his apprenticeship, he left Hainburg and traveled as a journeyman for 10 years. It is during this time that Mathias took up the harp. He was self taught and could not read music but he had a great love for music and apparently a lovely tenor voice. In 1727, he returned and became a master wheelwright, joining the guild. The next year, he married Maria Koller. They settled in Rohrau in a house that Mathias had built himself.

Mathias and Maria both sang and included their children in learning those folk songs. The family performed small concerts for their village neighbours. At the age of six, Joseph was sent to Hainburg to start his studies in music with the blessing of his parents. In turn, his two brothers followed.

In 1741, Mathis became the Marktrichter (meaning market judge in German), what we might think of as a village mayor, though his duties far exceeded that as he was responsible for the conduct of the people, including ensuring that they went to church each week. He held this position until 1761.

In 1747, Maria died and Mathis remarried soon after. Mathis passed away in 1763 after an accident while working which resulted in several broken ribs. He lived long enough to see his children well on their way to successful careers!

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