Beethoven Widmann Beethoven T O U R T WO
2 4 J U N E â€“ 9 J U LY 2 0 1 8
AU S T R A L I A N S T R I N G Q UA R T E T
N AT I O N A L S E A S O N 2 0 1 8
Welcome Imagine losing a faculty central to your life, work and very being; standing by powerless as the world changes so drastically around you. What would it take to push on and continue to create work despite this loss; to find light and colour in the black and to do it better than anyone else?
Job no. 3615-2 CRICOS 00123M
It never ceases to astound us that this was Beethoven’s mountain to climb with the loss of his hearing. His art didn’t dwindle but continued its trajectory toward becoming the most progressive, emotional and influential outpouring that the world had witnessed in centuries. Beethoven’s plight is a central part of this dramatic program, for which we have collaborated with Andy Packer from theatre company Slingsby to illuminate the power of this music. We open with Beethoven’s last quartet and end with his first, bookending a gripping work by German clarinettist and composer, Jörg Widmann. At a glance the two Beethoven quartets seem similar, being in four movements, genial major keys and possessing a brevity not found in the other late quartets. It is almost like Beethoven has come full circle in his life’s output. Yet despite its economy and transparency, op 135 could only be written by the composer who had already produced movements as sublime as the Cavatina from his op 130 quartet or the monumental Grosse Fugue. It is highly personal and introspective music written for performers willing to reveal themselves and Beethoven to an audience.
The Hunting Quartet by Widmann is a wild, confronting work that takes a simple classical hunting motif and stretches it to new sonic and emotional extremes. In the process of a hunting expedition, one of the participants discovers a shift in alliance has transpired and the hunter becomes the hunted! We won’t reveal the outcome... however this seems the appropriate moment to introduce and welcome our friend, cellist Michael Dahlenburg, who joins us for this concert. Sharon is currently on maternity leave and our best wishes are with her and Slava at this exciting time. Beethoven’s first quartet is more innocent than the tensions experienced in the first half of the concert. There is a youthful and optimistic vitality that the key of D major lends itself to so happily. In a similar way to op 135, the last movement is quite humorous, offering a release from more serious conversations. This program inscribes an arc that takes us from Beethoven’s last complete work back to the outset of his string quartet canon, by way of a highly thought-provoking drama that could be seen to echo the turmoil of Beethoven’s life. Dale, Francesca, Stephen and Michael
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Venues & Dates
Beethoven String Quartet in F major op135
Noosaville Sun 24 June 4.30pm Good Shepherd Lutheran College
JĂśrg Widmann String Quartet no 3 Hunting Quartet
Brisbane Tue 26 June 7pm Conservatorium Theatre
INTERVAL Beethoven String Quartet in D major op18 no 3
Sydney Fri 29 June 7pm City Recital Hall Canberra Sun 1 July 2pm James O Fairfax Theatre National Gallery of Australia Melbourne Tue 3 July 7pm Melbourne Recital Centre Adelaide Thu 5 July 7pm Adelaide Town Hall Perth Mon 9 July 7pm Government House Ballroom
voyagerestate.com.au Our next National Season concert Schubert Ledger Shostakovich 26 September â€“ 9 October 2018 asq.com.au
Australian String Quartet For over 30 years, the Australian String Quartet (ASQ) has created unforgettable string quartet performances for national and international audiences. Dedicated to musical excellence with a distinctly Australian character, our purpose is to create chemistry and amplify intimacy through experiences that connect people with string quartet music.
From our home base at the University of Adelaide, Elder Conservatorium of Music, we reach out across Australia and the world to engage people with an outstanding program of performances, workshops, commissions and education projects. Our distinct sound is enhanced by a matched set of 18th century Guadagnini instruments, handcrafted by Giovanni Battista Guadagnini between c.1743 and 1784 in Turin and Piacenza, Italy. These precious instruments are on loan for our exclusive use through the generosity of UKARIA. Our 2018 program is rich with exciting opportunities. Alongside our National Season, we continue our successful flagship festivals in
the Southern Grampians, Victoria and Western Australia’s Margaret River. Among other highlights, 2018 welcomes international tours to China and Europe; regional and metropolitan residencies; Australian recording initiatives; intimate Close Quarters gigs in unique spaces across the country; and the continuation of our successful morning series at UKARIA Cultural Centre. As we continue our collaboration with some of the country’s finest artists, festivals and innovators, our 2018 program of activity includes: our association with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra for the Metropolis New Music Festival, our collaboration with the Port Fairy Spring Festival to
celebrate the Songlines of this country through the inspirational ‘Quartet and Country’ project; and our partnership with Jumpgate VR on the development of our new ASQ digital platform.
Left to right: Dale Barltrop plays a 1784 Guadagnini Violin, Turin. Francesca Hiew plays a 1748-49 Guadagnini Violin, Piacenza. Stephen King plays a 1783 Guadagnini Viola, Turin. Sharon Grigoryan* plays a c.1743 Guadagnini Violoncello, Piacenza, ‘Ngeringa’. *Currently on maternity leave.
Guadagnini Quartet Project In 2010, UKARIA embarked on one of the most significant philanthropic projects in Australia’s musical history - the acquisition of a unique quartet of rare stringed instruments (c.1743-1784) crafted by Giovanni Battista Guadagnini. Guadagnini is one of history’s foremost luthiers, in company with Stradivarius and Guarneri del Gesu. This matched set of instruments, held in trust by UKARIA and made available as a set in perpetuity to Australia’s most outstanding string quartet, is unprecedented anywhere in the world. The current recipients are the Australian String Quartet. The instruments included in the collection are: 1784 Guadagnini Violin (Turin) 1748-49 Guadagnini Violin (Piacenza) 1783 Guadagnini Viola (Turin) c.1743 Guadagnini Cello ‘Ngeringa’ (Piacenza) Through the generosity of Ulrike Klein AO, The Klein Family Foundation, Maria Myers AC, Allan Myers AC, The James and
Diana Ramsay Foundation, Didy McLaurin, Joan Lyons, David McKee AO and Pam McKee, and many other donors, UKARIA completed the project on 18 December 2017, raising the funds to acquire all four instruments at a total cost of $6,183,188. This project has brought together a group of visionary patrons who understand the significant cultural value in a collection of this calibre. Philanthropic Champions Ulrike Klein AO Klein Family Foundation Allan J Myers AC Maria J Myers AC James Diana Ramsay Foundation Didy McLaurin Joan Lyons Mrs F.T. MacLachlan OAM David McKee AO and Pam McKee Pauline Menz Dr Rabin Bhandari Lang Foundation Hartley Higgins The Board of UKARIA also recognises and thanks the following donors who have each made a significant contribution to this project:
Major Gifts Don and Veronica Aldridge Elizabeth Clayton John Clayton Colin and Robyn Cowan Katherine Fennell Frances Gerard Julian and Stephanie Grose Andrew and Hiroko Gwinnett Richard Harvey AM Lyndsey and Peter Hawkins Janet and Michael Hayes Jari and Bobbie Hryckow Thora Klein Tupra Pastoral Company Macquarie Foundation Mr H.G. MacLachlan Mrs S.T. McGregor Peter and Pamela McKee Janet McLachlan Robert O’Callaghan and Pam O’Donnell John Phillips Margaret Piper Jill Russell Nigel Steele Scott Sidney Myer Fund Mary Louise Simpson Gary and Janet Tilsley Ian and Pamela Wall Janet Worth
Guest Artist Cello Michael Dahlenburg was born in Melbourne and studied cello with Howard Penny at the Australian National Academy of Music and with Molly Kadarauch at University of Melbourne. He also studied conducting with John Hopkins AM OBE and Christopher Seaman. As a chamber musician, Michael has toured Australia, Asia and Europe and has played in numerous festivals around the globe. He is a founding member of Hamer Quartet (first prize, audience prize and Musica
To every patron who contributed to this project we thank you for your support. To learn more visit UKARIA.com
Photo: Agatha Yim POLYPHONIC PICTURES
Viva grand prize winner of the 2009 Asia Pacific Chamber Music Competition), and ARTARIA, whose debut album was released in 2018. Michael is the principal cellist of the Melbourne Chamber Orchestra. He has played as soloist with the Melbourne Chamber Orchestra and Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra and as a conductor he has led the Melbourne Chamber Orchestra, the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra, orchestras for ANAM, and numerous state music camps.
Ludwig van Beethoven
String Quartet in F major op 135 Allegretto Vivace Lento assai e cantabile tranquillo Grave ma non troppo tratto - Allegro
Since completing a BA of Theatre Studies at Adelaide University in 1992, Andy’s arts career has encompassed many roles including Creative Producer, ensemble Actor/ Creator and Festival Director. In 2007 Andy co-founded Slingsby Theatre Company as Artistic Director. In ten years Slingsby has toured its original productions to 73 venues in 54 cities and towns across Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, USA, Canada, UK, Scotland, Spain, Ireland and Norway, winning 14 industry awards along the way. Alongside Slingsby, Andy has built a freelance career as a Director of opera, musical theatre, cabaret and concerts. Andy has directed for
Photo: Andy Ellis
State Theatre Company of South Australia, Adelaide Symphony Orchestra, State Opera of South Australia, Adelaide Fringe, Adelaide Festival of Arts and Adelaide Chamber Singers. Andy is respected nationally and internationally for creating moments of human intimacy and emotional truth in both intimate one hander productions and in large operatic and orchestral scale works. The visual and programmatic direction of Beethoven Widmann Beethoven has been created for the Australian String Quartet by Andy Packer with the support of a talented production team. For full details, visit asq.com.au
In a sense, Beethoven’s final quartet (and final completed work) came about from inner necessity rather than a commission. A Russian nobleman and amateur musician, Prince Nikolai Galitzin, offered to commission ‘up to three’ new quartets in 1822, and after a long initial delay, Beethoven found himself working almost involuntarily. The resulting five late quartets have been written off as the eccentric result of Beethoven’s deafness; other commentators have sought to present them as refuges of highly personal speculation. Like the third Razumovsky quartet, op 135 has a backward-looking cast. After the huge formal innovations of opp 132, 130 and 131, it reverts to the four-movement design established by Haydn, and is concise in its utterance and mainly restrained in its emotional impact. Indeed, Beethoven recycled some pre-existing material: the theme of the third movement had been destined for op 131, and the fourth movement makes use of a theme that he had written for a humorous canon.
Op 135 was written at a difficult time. Beethoven was fighting with his publisher (insulted at a low fee, he rather tastelessly threatened to send a ‘circumcised quartet’); his health was poor; and most seriously, his nephew Karl – for whose custody he had fought a painful and humiliating court case some years before – attempted suicide by shooting himself in the head. And yet we should be wary of finding tragedy in the work; it is clear from what we know of Beethoven that his sense of humor never deserted him, and often came to his aid in times of stress. The finale, the most celebrated movement of this work, for instance, is subtitled ‘The difficult decision’ and uses two motives designated ‘Muss es sein?’ (Must it be?) and ‘Es muss sein!’ (It must be!). Beethoven’s first, and notoriously unreliable biographer, Anton Schindler tells us that this bipolar movement deals with the ‘overcoming of melancholy’, but as William Kinderman has demonstrated in his recent biography, the question and answer re-enacts an exchange between Beethoven and a musician who was shocked at having to pay to use a set of parts (the tune of the original canon set the words ‘It must be, yes, yes, yes, open your wallet!’). Tragedy is neutralised by irony. Here, Beethoven comes full circle: he revives the classical model of argument, dance, meditation and release of energy. He revives wit and humour as the principal modes in which he expresses himself. Gordon Kerry © 2001/13
Jörg Widmann (born 1973)
String Quartet no 3 Hunting Quartet (2003)
transformed from its regular, good-humoured earthiness into something rather more sinister.
When German composer Jörg Widmann embarked on his first string quartet, in 1997, he was aware of the challenge, made even greater by what he (echoing Brahms) calls the genre’s ' "gigantic" literature… always at the back of my mind.' His solution was to conceive each of his first five quartets as movements of a much larger work that can, nonetheless, be played alone. The first, whilst not a sonata design, creates a superb drama out of the interplay of wildly disparate elements; the second, tracing its spiritual pedigree to Haydn’s Seven Last Words, is a meditation, through contrasts of diatonic music and the ‘noise’ of extended techniques, on pain. The fourth is a deliberately light intermezzo, while the fifth, an Attempt at the Fugue introduces a soprano, who sings verses from the book of Ecclesiastes.
After a hunting cry, Schumann’s theme is stated more or less intact, and is treated with a drone bass that makes it seem even more bucolic in this context. Widmann progressively tweaks it harmonically, and makes the music more and more frenetic, as the Schumann theme appears and disappears in an increasingly violent and occasionally frankly onomatopoeic texture, a process he describes as ‘skeletonising.’
At the mid-point, then, is this Hunting Quartet, corresponding to the scherzo of a classical work. Its title, of course, recalls Mozart’s Quartet K.458, but its thematic material is a quotation from the finale of Schumann’s Papillons, op 2, with some half-remembered motifs from the scherzo of Beethoven’s Seventh Symphony. The work is extremely theatrical, mirroring the way in which Schumann’s material is
After the piece’s mid-point there are passages of odd quiet, and, in Widmann’s own formulation ‘the braggart hunters go on to be hunted, to be pursued.’ The last third of the piece dramatizes another reversal of fortune, where the three higher instruments gang up on the cello. The music viscerally and graphically enacts this, portraying the increasingly vicious pack mentality that leads to the symbolic but brutal death of the cello. Widmann cleverly enlists his listener with the humour and energy of the opening sections, but as he puts it, ‘the playful and overwound tone maintained throughout only with difficulty conceals the seriousness that has suddenly found its way into the piece.’ The Hunting Quartet was premiered in 2003 by the Arditti Quartet in Badenweiler, Germany. © Gordon Kerry 2018
Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827)
String Quartet in D major op 18 no 3 Allegro Andante con moto Allegro Presto By the end of the 1790s Beethoven had composed a number of important chamber works, but only then did he produce his first string quartets. He became friends with Prince Lichnowsky, patron of the quartet led by Ignaz Schuppanzigh which had worked closely with Haydn and others and was, as A W Thayer notes, ‘a set of performers schooled to perfection by his great predecessors’. Like both Haydn and Mozart (in the ‘Haydn’ Quartets), Beethoven grouped six quartets under this opus number. He made no secret of his labours with the form, but in December 1800, the Countess Josephine von Deym described a salon concert at which ‘Beethoven, that real angel, let us hear his new quartets, which have not been engraved yet and are the greatest of their kind’. The final order of opus 18 reflects Beethoven’s overall dramatic conception of the set, but not when they were written. The D major work was in fact the first written, but owing to its perhaps modest aims didn’t require serious revision.
The character of the work is genial, in a word. The first movement, as William Kinderman puts it is ‘relaxed, even somewhat bland… but Beethoven resourcefully experiments with the audience’s expectations.’ That in essence is how Beethoven demonstrates his understanding, if not yet absolutely total mastery, of the musical language: it is the overall design which matters, rather than individual details, though it would be hard to dislike any of the material in this tuneful work. Interestingly, in the slow movement Beethoven chooses the key of B flat, where convention would suggest A major. In doing so he subtly heightens the tension between the keys, and therefore characters, of each movement, and the contrast between keys a third apart comes to occupy a fundamental position in his later music, such as the slow movement of the Ninth Symphony. The slow movement here explores a variety of often complex textures; the dance movement which follows – significantly not identified as menuetto or scherzo, merely allegro, has as its contrasting middle section a simple but effective passage in the minor mode. The finale, in a boisterous 6/8, may reflect Beethoven’s admiration for Mozart’s Quintet K 593. Robert Simpson has pointed out that in fact Beethoven’s theme (with something of the Mexican hat dance to it) is much more flexible and extensible than that of Mozart’s finale, on which it might well be modelled. Gordon Kerry © 2001
Donors The Australian String Quartet would like to acknowledge and sincerely thank the following donors for their ongoing support along with those donors whose very important contributions either remain anonymous or are less than $1000. The following donations reflect cumulative donations made from 2013 onwards and the Australian String Quartet is extremely grateful for all the support received from its donors. The ASQ is registered as a tax deductible recipient. Donations can be made by phoning the ASQ on 1800 040 444 or online at asq.com.au/support
Principals ($50,001+) Mr Philip Bacon Nicholas Callinan AO & Libby Callinan Clitheroe Foundation Richard Harvey AM & the late Tess Harvey Lyndsey & Peter Hawkins Andrew Johnston Klein Family Foundation Norma Leslie Macquarie Group Foundation Allan J Myers AC & Maria J Myers AC The Ian Potter Foundation Thyne Reid Foundation Wright Burt Foundation Anonymous (1) Champions ($25,001 - $50,000) Hunt Family Foundation Joan Lyons Janet & Michael Hayes David McKee AO & Pam McKee Peter & Pamela McKee Mrs Diana McLaurin PM Menz Brenda Shanahan Charitable Foundation Anonymous (1) Guardians ($10,001 - $25,000) Don & Veronica Aldridge John & Mary Barlow John & Libby Clayton Angela Flannery Kay Freedman & the late Ian Wallace Lang Foundation Glenda & Greg Lewin MG Prichard & BE Panizza Lady Potter AC Susan M Renouf Robert Salzer Foundation Anonymous (4)
Classic Partners ($5,001 - $10,000) Bernard & Jackie Barnwell Berg Family Foundation Brand Family Foundation Maurice Crotti AO & Tess Crotti Perri Cutten & Jo Daniell Margaret Flatman John Funder & Val Diamond Nonie Hall Marshall-Hall Trust Mr Hartley Higgins Kimberley & Angus Holden Keith Holt & Anne Fuller Neil & June Jens Mr Robert Kenrick Rod & Elizabeth King Sonia Laidlaw Skye McGregor Patricia H Reid Andrew Sisson AO Nigel Steele Scott Elizabeth Syme Gary & Janet Tilsley Anonymous (1) Friends ($1,001 - $5,000) Peter Allan Michael & Susan Armitage Prof Margaret Arstall Charles & Catherine Bagot Philip Barron Dianne Barron-Davis David & Caroline Bartolo Bernard & Sharon Booth Tim & Lyndie Carracher John & Christine Chamberlain Ric Chaney & Chris Hair John & Libby Clapp Geoffrey Clarke Peter Clemenger AO & Joan Clemenger Caroline & Robert Clemente Dr Peter Clifton Ian & Rosana Cochrane TC & MR Cooney
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Australian String Quartet Richard Divall Australian Music Fund Don & Veronica Aldridge Roslyn Allen Bernard & Jackie Barnwell Brand Family Foundation Nicholas Callinan AO & Libby Callinan John & Christine Chamberlain John & Libby Clayton Caroline & Robert Clemente Perri Cutten & Jo Daniell Fleur Gibbs Roz Greenwood & Marg Phillips Alan Gunther Tim & Irena Harrington Dr Penny Herbert in memory of Dunstan Herbert Keith Holt & Anne Fuller Kevin & Barbara Kane Rod & Elizabeth King Angus Leitch Glenda & Greg Lewin PM Menz Jo & Jock Muir Allan Myers AC & Maria Myers AC Tony & Margaret Pagone MG Prichard & BE Panizza Karin Penttila Lady Potter AC Susan M Renouf Drs Paul Schneider & Margarita Silva Diana Sher OAM & Jeffrey Sher QC Rob & Jane Southey Mary & Ian Steele Gary & Janet Tilsley Annie & Philip Young Anonymous (3)
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National Season 2018 creative â€“ Illustration/animation by Chris Edser. Photography by Jacqui Way. Design & art direction by Cul-de-sac Creative. Printed by Print Solutions SA.
ASQ Board Alexandra Burt Nicholas Callinan AO (Chair) Bruce Cooper John Evans Janet Hayes Marisa Mandile Paul Murnane Susan Renouf Jeanette Sandford-Morgan OAM Suzanne Stark Angelina Zucco (Chief Executive)
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