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Consone Quartet (GB)

When: 20. 6. 2018 at 20:30

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Ticket price: 10 - 25 EUR

Festibus: Departure at 17:45 (Hala Tivoli). Price: 10 €.

Consone Quartet (GB):

Agata Daraskaite (LT): violin

Magdalena Loth-Hill (GB): violin

Elitsa Bogdanova (BU): viola

George Ross (GB): cello

 

Haydn and Beethoven: Breaking Tradition

 

https://www.consonequartet.com/

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Artists’ message to visitors

We are thrilled to be given the opportunity to perform in Slovenia for the very first time and we are excited to present a programme entitled “Haydn and Beethoven: Breaking Tradition”. We will be exploring two highly accomplished works, written and published within a year or so of each other. Beethoven was Haydn’s most celebrated pupil and the knowledge and inspiration that he drew from Papa Haydn is evident in his work, despite their difficult relationship and Beethoven stating that he ‘never learnt anything’ from him. Beethoven’s Op.18 quartets are strong representatives of an established genre, whilst being revolutionary in their highly experimental qualities. They became an important milestone in the development of the string quartet. Haydn’s Op.76 is one of his most ambitious sets. He breaks tradition through deviating from the sonata form and bringing out motifs in all four instruments, much more equally prominent than ever before. We hope to see you soon for our celebration of music by two giants of the Classical era!

 

About the project

 

Consone Quartet is visiting Slovenia for a week-long residency in order to present a programme entitled “Haydn and Beethoven: Breaking Tradition”. The programme was conceived from the idea of juxtaposing two accomplished works by a teacher and his pupil, written roughly at the same time in history. Consone explores this repertoire using gut strings, period instruments and Classical bows, which open up a broad palette of colors, textures and articulations, typical of the Classical period.

Beethoven was Haydn’s most celebrated pupil and the knowledge and inspiration that he drew from ‘Papa Haydn’ is evident in his work, despite their difficult relationship and Beethoven stating that he ‘never learnt anything’ from his teacher. Haydn’s op.76/5 and Beethoven’s op.18/1 were written within a year or so of each other. Haydn’s later op.77 consisted of just two quartets, leading musicologists to speculate that he was acknowledging the young genius of Beethoven and choosing to bow out of the competition.

Beethoven spent years studying string quartet movements by Haydn and Mozart, but it was not until he was almost thirty years old that he began to set down his first quartets on paper. This is perhaps why even in his first opus he managed to be highly innovative and experimental, with op.18 becoming a milestone in the development of the string quartet.

Haydn’s employment at the Esterházy court ended in 1790 after the death of his patron. He then embarked on a number of foreign tours and when he returned to Vienna in 1795 to work on his op. 76, he was over sixty years old, well-travelled and arguably the most famous living composer in Europe. Haydn’s Op.76 broke tradition because it deviates from the standard sonata form and the thematic material is more equally distributed between the four instruments than in previous works. The fifth quartet is the most symphonic and unusual, bursting with boundless energy and sheer virtuosity. This music was without doubt the realm of professionals, with an excellent technical and musical command of their instruments.

The Consone Quartet is fascinated by the turn of the 18th century - the scientific inventions and innovations happening at the time, the political revolutions and heightened cultural awareness all across Europe. Inspired by this legacy of the Enlightenment, their programme explores revolutionary works by two giants of the Classical period

 

Consone Quartet (GB)

Formed at the Royal College of Music in London in 2012, the Consone Quartet is dedicated to exploring Classical and early Romantic repertoire on period instruments. Winners of the 2016 Royal Over-Seas League Ensemble Prize, Consone was awarded two prizes at York International Young Artists Competition in 2015, including a place on the EEEmerging Scheme in France.

Concert programme

Franz Joseph Haydn (1732-1809):

Quartetto V. (op. 76 / 5, Hob. III:79)

Allegretto / Largo, ma non troppo. Cantabile e mesto / Menuet Allegro on troppo / Finale Presto

(Three / Quartetts / for / Two Violins, / Tenor & Violoncello / Composed by / Joseph Haydn Mus. Dor. / Op 76 / London Printed by Muzio Clementi & Comp. / Bk 2)

*****

Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827):

Quartetto I. (op. 18 / 1)

All.o con brio / Adagio affettuoso ed appassionato / Scherzo.All.o molto / Allegro

(Six / Quatuors / pour / Deux Violons, Alto, et Violoncelle / composés et dediés / Son Altesse Monseigneur le Prince / Regnant de Lobkowitz &.&. / par / Louis van Beethoven / Oeuvre 18. 1.er Livraison / à Vienne / chez T. Mollo et Comp.)

 

Shortly before the publication of Beethoven’s Opus 18 quartets, Haydn received a commission from the Hungarian Count Joseph Georg von Erdődy for a set of string quartets, which appeared in print as his Opus 76. They are among his most ambitious chamber works, full of invention and humour. 

For much of his career Haydn worked for the Hungarian Esterházy family. Although the thirty or so years in their service had been highly productive, it was often an isolated existence and Haydn commented on feeling ‘forced to become original’. This employment ended abruptly in 1790 after the death of his patron. Haydn was granted a pension and with the help of the impresario Johann Peter Salomon, he embarked on a number of lucrative foreign tours: to Paris, and twice to London. By the time he returned to Vienna in 1795 to begin work on his Opus 76 quartets, Haydn was over sixty years old, well-travelled and arguably the most famous living composer in Europe. This period had a marked effect on his compositional style; his writing is still full of its trademark wit and surprise, but there is also something more robust and unorthodox to the music.

The string quartet, which had begun its life in the mid eighteenth century as a restrained domestic medium, had already developed significantly by this stage and was becoming capable of grand, almost orchestral gestures. The fifth quartet of Opus 76 is one the most symphonic and unusual in all of Haydn’s ouvre. The first movement is essentially a light-hearted and simple theme and variations in which the rocking 6/8 melody is gradually embellished with ever more improvisatory decorations. The movement finally segues into a driving, fugal allegro where scalic outbursts give it an almost orchestral texture. The extensively developmental slow movement is set in the unusual key of F sharp major, which gives it a particular, otherworldly sonority. In the Minuet and Trio, ‘Papa Haydn’ is up to his usual tricks with rhythmic surprises and sudden dynamic changes. A sequence of cadential chords propels the listener into the final movement where the driving melody plays around a narrow range. Together with its rustic open fifths accompaniment, it is clearly inspired by folk music, perhaps a nod to his Hungarian patron. Through its boundless energy and sheer virtuosity, this music is without doubt the realm of professionals, with a total command of their instruments, both technically and musically.

In his early years, Beethoven seems to have approached the string-quartet genre with some apprehension, no doubt aware of the immense shadow cast by the likes of Haydn and Mozart. The young Beethoven copied out string quartet movements by Haydn and Mozart for study, but it was not until late 1798 that he finally began to set down his first string quartets, the Opus 18, on paper.

After 16 pages of sketches, Beethoven finally committed the main motif of the first movement to paper. It opens the Opus with bustling energy as though Beethoven wanted to break into the genre with fresh energy and confidence. The motif takes on many faces during the course of this sonata form movement - from light or joyful to somber and even aggressive. Beethoven’s emotional maturity and immense ability to play with classical themes is on full display here, as is his approach to independent part writing. The cello plays a particularly prominent role in this movement, expressing opinions and commenting throughout the course of the musical dialogue.

The second movement is famously thought to have been composed with the tomb scene from Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet in mind. At the end of one of Beethoven’s sketches he writes “les derniers soupirs”, meaning “the last breaths”. Although not intended in a programmatic way, this gives the movement a dramatic narrative. The heading at the top of the movement reads Adagio affettuoso ed appassionato and Beethoven’s expressive powers are most striking in this emotionally charged movement. It must have been shockingly intense music for its time, with darkness, tragedy and terror often interrupting the seemingly serene main theme.

In the Classical string quartet structure, the next movement would typically be a Minuet and Trio, yet Beethoven’s Scherzo marks a departure from the traditional dance qualities of the Minuet. This, of course, is not Beethoven’s invention - pioneered by Haydn himself, it breaks up the drama to give some light relief after the monumental slow movement. The Scherzo of Opus 18/1 is full of grace and rhythmic pulse, with little witty remarks and fun syncopations. The Trio section is darker in colour and more flowing, with occasional interruptions of limping rhythms played in unison.

The Finale, although again heavily reliant on small motifs, is a virtuosic marriage of multiple themes in an almost rondo-like structure. Beethoven employs fugato to give prominence to all four parts, infusing the movement with an obsessive element. The finale is full of bubbling energy and counterpoint, bringing the piece to a light and joyful close.

 

Venue

Brežice, Brežice Castle

The two-storey castle is the mightiest building in Brežice, built in the middle of the 16th century in the site of the castle which was burnt down in 1515, in time of the great peasant revolt.

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FESTIBUS

The price of coach provided for all concerts from Ljubljana and Zagreb is 10€. Departure from Hala Tivoli and Lisinski Hall.