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Author: Jill Kimball

For Takács Quartet, Beethoven beckons

CU Boulder’s longtime quartet-in-residence is gearing up for a season of Beethoven’s entire string quartet canon.

The University of Colorado Boulder’s famously loyal Takács Quartet fans can expect to hear a whole lot of Ludwig van Beethoven this season.

CU Boulder’s longtime quartet-in-residence is gearing up for a season of Beethoven’s entire string quartet canon to coincide with the recent release of violinist Edward Dusinberre’s book, “Beethoven for a Later Age: Living with the String Quartets.” They’ll perform some of the pieces in Boulder and others in a handful of major international cities.

“It was just time to perform the cycle again,” says Takács Quartet founder and cellist András Fejér. “It’s always nice to re-immerse yourself in these gorgeous pieces. Thinking about Ed’s book while playing will be the cherry on top.”

The Grammy-winning group, often considered one of the finest chamber ensembles in the world, is no stranger to the composer whose unique sound famously bridged the classical and romantic periods. A decade ago, the Takács released a recording of Beethoven’s complete string quartets to unanimous critical acclaim. The New Yorker’s Alex Ross called it “the most richly expressive modern account of this titanic cycle.”

For Fejér, there’s no composer whose music is more moving and endlessly fascinating than Beethoven’s, so it’s no wonder that the quartet returns to his work again and again.

“The breadth and the scope of the pieces, starting from his early quartets and finishing with the quartets written after his Ninth Symphony … the emotions, the passion, the way he turns the classical structure on its head … the way he builds themes … it’s all incredible,” Fejér says. “The combination of all these factors makes the Beethoven string quartets some of the most difficult pieces to perform, digest, analyze and synthesize.”

When the quartet isn’t tackling Ludwig in the 2016-17 concert season, they’ll be partnering up with CU Boulder’s many talented, award-winning faculty musicians for pieces both familiar and new to them, including Dohnanyi’s Piano Quintet, Schubert’s “Trout” Quintet and selected songs by Brahms.

“Every piece we play with our colleagues is exciting because we don’t have the opportunity to play it too many times,” Fejér says. “It’s wonderful to have an outside influence and outside energy taking us places where we wouldn’t normally go as a quartet.”

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