Juilliard String Quartet House Programme

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Juilliard String Quartet

13

OCT

2 018 | SAT | 8 PM

茱莉亞弦樂四重奏

Grand Hall, Lee Shau Kee Lecture Centre The University of Hong Kong 香港大學李兆基會議中心大會堂


Welcome to the Grand Hall. Thank you for coming to the concert. To ensure that everyone enjoys the music, please switch off your mobile phones and any other sound and light emitting devices before the performance. Unauthorised photography, audio / video recordings in the Hall are prohibited. Enjoy the concert and come again.

Presented by

museinfo@hku.hkď˝œ+852 3917 8165ď˝œwww.muse.hku.hk HKU MUSE

In Collaboration with

Supported by

hkumuse


PROGRAMME

Juilliard String Quartet Areta Zhulla, violin Ronald Copes, violin Roger Tapping, viola Astrid Schween, cello

BEETHOVEN

String Quartet in D major, Op. 18, No. 3 Allegro Andante con moto Allegro Presto

MUSIC IN WORDS A brief dialogue Prof. Daniel Chua, moderator Chairperson, Department of Music, HKU

BEECHER

One Hundred Years Grows Shorter Over Time (Asia Premiere) I. II. III.

15-minute Intermission

DVOŘÁK

String Quartet in F major, Op. 96, 'American' Allegro ma non troppo Lento Molto vivace Finale: vivace ma non troppo


Š C L A U D I O PA PA P I E T R O

Juilliard String Quartet

With unparalleled artistry and enduring vigor, the Juilliard String Quartet (JSQ) continues to inspire audiences around the world. Founded in 1946, and widely known as "the quintessential American string quartet". the Juilliard draws on a deep and vital engagement to the classics, while embracing the mission of championing new works, a vibrant combination of the familiar and the daring. The 2018-19 season will include concerts in Hong Kong, Singapore, Shanghai, London, Oslo, Athens, Vancouver, Toronto, and New York. The season will also introduce a newly commissioned String Quartet by composer Lembit Beecher, and some piano quintet collaborations with the celebrated pianist Marc-AndrĂŠ Hamelin. Devoted master teachers, the members of the Juilliard String Quartet offer classes and open rehearsals when on tour. The JSQ is string quartet in residence at Juilliard and its members are all sought-after teachers on the string and chamber music faculties. www.juilliardstringquartet.org

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Programme Notes String Quartet in D major, Op. 18, No. 3* LUDWIG VAN BEETHOVEN (1770 – 1827) Though published as No. 3 of Op. 18, the D-major string quartet is actually the first piece that Beethoven composed for the six-piece set commissioned by Prince Franz Joseph von Lobkowitz, Beethoven’s admirer and patron. Beethoven started writing the piece in the summer of 1798, but the whole set was not published until 1801 as the composition was interrupted by some other works. He also took time to make significant revisions to the first three pieces in 1800 after having completed them in 1799. In June 1801, Beethoven told his friend Karl Amenda in a letter that he "had just learnt how to write quartets properly", indicating his inexperience with the genre and showing dissatisfaction with his initial compositional attempts. As the string quartet got more sophisticated in the hands of Mozart and Haydn, mastery of the genre became an indication of a composer’s maturity. Beethoven might have wanted his first set of string quartets to make a more impactful impression with an assertive and dramatic opening presented by the F major quartet (No. 1) instead of the current D-major piece, which opens with a desolate and lingering minor seventh in the first violin. Yet the latter is no less compelling than the other pieces of the set.

茱 莉 亞 弦 樂 四

Very soon the desolate opening is eclipsed by a cordial conversation among all four parts. The atmosphere remains joyful, at times exuberant, except for a brief moment of grief followed by a tragic drama concluding with some stressful tremolos. The second movement initially depicts a warm and gentle mood supported by some lovely chromatic chords, but it then gradually develops into a reservoir of dark passions. The third movement is characterised by levity and brevity, with a hint of Haydnesque wit. Its contrasting middle section is so brief that it seems to have just started while it ends. The piece culminates in a virtuosic finale permeated with exciting passages. While a rapid soaring passage followed by a sequence of forceful chords suggests a grand conclusion echoing that of the first movement, it turns out to end with a touch of light humour.

重 奏

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Programme Notes One Hundred Years Grows Shorter Over Time LEMBIT BEECHER This piece was written in honour of the 100th anniversary of South Mountain Concerts for the Juilliard String Quartet. As I began writing I thought about the span of 100 years: how, over time, our lives turn into stories told by our children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren, the complications and subtleties of life crystalising into anecdotes as actual memories fade. The three movements of this quartet are like successive generations retelling the same story. Musical material is passed from movement to movement, but along the way it is reinterpreted and reshaped into something quite different. The movements all share a similar obsessiveness of character, moments of exuberance, and a tendency for long lines to emerge out of faster, restless music, but each movement is shorter, slower, and more focused than the previous one. As I wrote, I kept thinking about a melody, a waltz written by my Estonian granduncle Ilmar Kiiiss, now in his mid-90s. He had written the waltz in the 1950s after the Soviet occupation of Estonia and I had first played this music with my violinist brother when we were teenagers. Over the years we have kept returning to it and I gradually let the waltz into this piece. It is hidden or just hinted at in the first two movements but in the third it appears fully realized if a bit scratchy, as if an old recording, both beautiful and out-of-context, was rediscovered by a future generation.

Programme notes provided by the composer

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String Quartet in F major, Op. 96, 'American'* ANTONÍN DVOŘÁK (1841 – 1904) As suggested by its nickname 'American', the F-major string quartet was composed during Dvořák’s stay in the United States, where he also wrote his 'New World' Symphony and String Quintet in E-flat major. 'I should never have written these works "just so" if I hadn’t seen America', Dvořák wrote in September 1893. Serving as director of the National Conservatory of Music in New York City from 1892 to 1895, Dvořák had been in search of a national music for America. In the summer of 1893, Dvořák went to Spillville, Iowa with his family for vacation. Spillville was a settlement established by a German called Spielmann, but was dominated by Bohemian immigrants, among whom were the family of Josef Jan Kovařík, Dvořák’s secretary. According to Kovařík, Dvořák spent almost every afternoon in the company of some of the old settlers, listening to their stories about their bitter and difficult beginnings in America. Surrounded by the cultural environment of his hometown, Dvořák took only a fortnight to write the complete F-major quartet from scratch. It seems, then, that the piece was inspired as much by a Czech environment as by the mighty landscape of the Midwest.

茱 莉 亞 弦 樂 四

In fact, it is hard to tell whether the piece is more Czech or American in character. Nearly all the themes of the quartet contain pentatonic melodies, a feature found in many folk musical traditions. A veteran violist, Dvořák entrusted the viola with the prominent role of announcing the opening theme, which emerges out of an accompaniment evoking a shimmering and undulating river, perhaps the one in Spillville to which Dvořák went for a walk every morning. After the pastoral first movement, the Lento presents a mournful lament where the violin seems to imitate the vocal style of the Native Americans. Near the beginning of the third movement, Dvořák introduced in the first violin a melody he heard from the scarlet tanager, an American songbird that he must have had frequently encountered in Spillville. The finale opens with a cheerful folk dance, which then gives away to a chorale. As the main theme returns, its progressive fragmentation creates an irresistible forward momentum with which the movement dashes to its end.

重 奏

* Programme notes by Sheryl Chow MPhil in Musicology, HKU 2012 PhD candidate in Musicology, Princeton University 5


Juilliard String Quartet 茱 莉 亞 弦 樂 四 重 奏