Page 1

ST. LAWRENCE STRING QUARTET Geoff Nuttall, violin | Scott St. John, violin Lesley Robertson, viola | Christopher Costanza, cello St. Lawrence String Quartet (credit: Marco Borggreve)

String Quartet in D major, Op. 71, No. 2

Franz Josef HAYDN (1732-1809)

Adagio - Allegro Adagio cantabile Menuetto Finale

Qohelet (2011)

Osvaldo GOLIJOV (b. 1960)

Qohelet was composed for the St. Lawrence String Quartet, and was co-commissioned by Carnegie Hall and Stanford Lively Arts, Stanford University, with the generous support of Kathryn Gould.

INTERMISSION String Quartet in E-flat major, Op. 127

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827)

Maestoso - Allegro Adagio ma non troppo e molto cantabile Scherzo Vivace - Presto Finale: allegro con moto

The St. Lawrence String Quartet appears by arrangement with David Rowe Artists | www.davidroweartists.com St. Lawrence String Quartet recordings can be heard on EMI Classics and ArtistShare (www.artistshare.com) The St. Lawrence String Quartet is Ensemble-in-Residence at Stanford University www.slsq.com

is performance is generously sponsored by Mr. Sam Ersan Exclusive Print Sponsor

Photographing or recording this performance without permission is prohibited. Kindly disable pagers, cellular phones, and other audible devices. Programs, artists, dates, times are subject to change.

HAYDN: STRING QUARTET IN D MAjOR, OP. 71, NO. 2 (1793) On January 19, 1794, traveling in a comfortable horse-drawn carriage borrowed from the musicloving Baron van Swieten, Haydn left Esterháza on a second journey to England. He had his viola with him and had it repaired and re-strung while in London. He also had some new symphonies and six new string quartets that were soon to become known as Op. 71 and Op. 74. They were different from anything he had written before. Haydn was returning to London at the insistence of the violinist and impresario Johann Peter Salomon. This virtuoso musician who, like Beethoven, was born in Bonn, but who now made London his home, had a fine reputation as leader of a string quartet. He introduced Haydn to a new world of public—not private— concerts that included chamber music. He also introduced Haydn to skilled musicians who could speedily come to terms with new music and to sophisticated concert audiences who craved novelty—and were willing to pay handsomely for it. This was all very different from the insular court life that Haydn had known for decades at Esterháza, and different, too, from the more formal, semi-private concerts that were given in the homes of the Viennese aristocrats. The six quartets Op. 71 and Op. 74 were, in fact, initially commissioned by one such AustroHungarian friend and patron, Count von Apponyi, a Freemason who had sponsored Haydn's admittance to the Craft eight or nine years earlier. But Apponyi's sponsorship is not reflected

about the ProGraM

Sunday, April 21, 2013, 3pm Irvine Barclay Theatre Pre-concert lecture by Dean Corey, 2pm


about the ProGraM

in the music of the six quartets. Salomon's virtuoso violin technique comes through in every movement. In the English-speaking world, the quartets tend to be known as the Salomon quartets; in German-speaking countries, they are known as the Apponyi quartets. The D major quartet, Op. 71, No. 2, is characteristically drawn on a broader canvas than the more intimate, intense and inward-looking Viennese works. It is the most brilliant of the set and the one that most clearly reflects Salomon’s fine technique as quartet leader. Typically, it opens with two attention-grabbing forte chords, designed to tell a London audience in the Hanover Square Rooms that it was time to stop chattering and time to pay attention to the music. The Allegro is built upon octave leaps in the four instruments. These are the building blocks of the movement. Good humor and technical ingenuity are the chief characteristics of the opening movement. The lyrical first violin line of the slow movement, an aria for the violin, reflects Salomon’s playing. “He plays quartets with more feeling and imagination, more taste, expression and variety than we ever heard them played,” a London newspaper wrote at the time. The minuet is again built upon the span of an octave and the elegant finale brings this superbly crafted quartet to its conclusion. — Program notes © 2012 Keith Horner. Comments welcomed: khnotes@sympatico.ca

GOLIjOV: QOHELET (2011) Qohelet is inspired by some of the teachings and poetic images in Ecclesiastes. I thought that this short book of experience would balance in some way the youthful innocence of Yiddishbbuk, which brought us (me?) together with the St. Lawrence String Quartet 20 years ago. The first movement of the work is a meditation on motion and melancholy. Those seemingly contradictory states actually feed each other here: a lyrical line emerges in the first violin from a gritty, ever more propulsive ride in the other instruments. The first violin finally lifts in flight and the movement ends suspended in mid-air, like the sword of Don Quixote at the end of chapter VIII in that book.

Osvaldo Golijov

The second movement flows like two slow river currents, perhaps memory and present. The merging and bifurcations of these currents are punctuated by cradling bells: reflection rather than action. —Osvaldo Golijov, 2012

BEETHOVEN: QUARTET IN E-fLAT, OP. 127 (1824-5) Even as Beethoven was writing this E-flat quartet, the first of his final great quartets, the respected French composer Luigi Cherubini said: “If Beethoven had never written a quartet, I would write quartets; as it is, I cannot.” Beethoven’s accomplishment dwarfed all around him, nowhere more so than in his five late quartets. String quartet writing had now become Beethoven’s medium of choice. After the acclaim won with the monumental Ninth Symphony and the Missa solemnis, he began sketches for a tenth symphony. He also had plans for a second opera. But he found that his thoughts truly crystallized in the late quartets. It was a deeply personal journey. Money was not the issue as quartet writing offered little potential for income. This was, essentially, music written from inner need. The sonorous opening chords that send the music on its spacious journey sound three times throughout the first movement. Their initial appearance serves as a fanfare and gives a sense of purpose to the music that follows. The chords are played forte and in the home key of E-flat major. After a journey to G minor, the chords next appear in the surprising key of G major, still forte, even more


sonorously scored, since they now take advantage of the open strings of all four instruments. Then the music travels through more keys as the traditional development gets underway. The maestoso (majestic) chords are forced into yet another key, C major, for their third and final appearance, now marked fortissimo and ever more sonorous. The third appearance of these pillars is even shorter than it was in the opening six measures, as the main theme of the movement now takes over their serene solemnity to end in a mood of ecstasy. The second movement continues the serenity in a series of progressively evolving free variations on a theme of unusual length—18 measures. The meditative mood of the music was observed by Robert Schumann when he said of the movement: “One seems to have lingered not 15 short minutes, but an eternity.” The four pizzicato chords of introduction to the third movement mirror the opening Maestoso of the first movement. They lead to an exuberant, more down-to-earth Scherzando vivace, built on a terse, hopping figure introduced by the cello. A whirlwind middle section leads to a reprise of the opening section. Its assertive final chords are picked up as the finale begins. The music moves forward with a feeling of certainty. In this quartet, Beethoven was at the peak of his powers as a composer. His assurance never falters. To those early listeners who felt the music was beyond them, he simply said: “They must hear it more often.” Time —even within his lifetime—proved Beethoven correct. — Program notes © 2012 Keith Horner. Comments welcomed: khnotes@sympatico.ca

Ludwig Van Beethoven

ABOUT THE ARTISTS St. Lawrence String Quartet Geoff Nuttall, violin Scott St. John, violin Lesley Robertson, viola Christopher Costanza, cello “A sound that has just about everything one wants from a quartet, most notably precision, warmth and an electricity that conveys the excitement of playing whatever is on their stands at the moment.” – The New York Times The St. Lawrence String Quartet (SLSQ) has established itself among the world-class chamber ensembles of its generation. Its mission: bring every piece of music to the audience in vivid color, with pronounced communication and teamwork, and great respect to the composer. Since winning both the Banff International String Quartet Competition and Young Concert Artists International Auditions in 1992, the quartet has delighted audiences with its spontaneous, passionate, and dynamic performances. Alex Ross of The New Yorker magazine writes, “the St. Lawrence are remarkable not simply for the quality of their music making, exalted as it is, but for the joy they take in the act of connection.” Whether playing Haydn or premiering a new work, the SLSQ has a rare ability to bring audiences to rapt attention. They reveal surprising nuances in familiar repertoire and illuminate the works of some of today’s most celebrated composers, often all in the course of one evening. John Adams has written two critically-acclaimed works expressly for the quartet, including “String Quartet” (2009) and “Absolute Jest” (2012), which they premiered with the San Francisco Symphony in 2012. In 2011, SLSQ premiered “Qohelet,” a new work by Osvaldo Golijov, also composed for them. The Quartet performed “Absolute Jest” with the New World Symphony in December 2012, with John Adams conducting. They also performed “Qohelet” at Carnegie Hall in February 2013, in a concert celebrating Golijov’s work. SLSQ maintains a busy touring schedule. Some 2012-13 season highlights include visits to Columbus, Calgary, Houston, Iowa City, Miami, Philadelphia, Toronto, and Durham, in addition to its


about the artists St. Lawrence String Quartet (photo: Marco Borggreve)

Carnegie Hall appearance and a visit to Seoul, South Korea. During the summer season, SLSQ is proud to continue its long association with the Spoleto Festival in Charleston, SC, and Bay Chamber Concerts in Rockport, Maine. Celebrating the 20th anniversary of the quartet's founding in Canada, SLSQ in 2009 commissioned five Canadian composers and performed their work across the country. They also have active working relationships with numerous other composers, including R. Murray Schafer, Christos Hatzis, Ezequiel Vi単ao, Jonathan Berger, Ka Nin Chan, Roberto Sierra, and Mark Applebaum. Since 1998, the SLSQ has held the position of Ensemble-in-Residence at Stanford University. This residency includes working with music students as well as extensive collaborations with other faculty and departments using music to explore a myriad of topics. Recent collaborations have involved the School of Medicine, School of Education, and the Law School. In addition to its appointment at Stanford, the SLSQ is visiting artist at the University of Toronto. The four-

some's passion for opening up musical arenas to players and listeners alike is evident in their annual summer chamber music seminar at Stanford and their many forays into the depths of musical meaning with preeminent music educator Robert Kapilow. Violist Lesley Robertson is a founding member of the group, and hails from Edmonton, Alberta. Cellist Christopher Costanza is from Utica, New York, and joined the quartet in 2003. Violinists Geoff Nuttall and Scott St. John both grew up in London, Ontario; Geoff is a founding member and Scott joined in 2006. Depending on concert repertoire, the two alternate the role of first violin. All four members of the quartet live and teach at Stanford, in the Bay Area of California. http://www.slsq.com

St. Lawrence Program Notes  

St. Lawrence Program Notes

Read more
Read more
Similar to
Popular now
Just for you