Oct 28-29, 2018

Takács Quartet

Takács Quartet

Takács Quartet

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The Grammy-winning string quartet "are matchless [in] their supreme artistry." ~The Guardian

The Grammy Award-winning string quartet has been moving audiences and selling out concerts at CU Boulder for more than three decades. Their irresistible blend of virtuosic technique and engaging personality has led The Guardian (London) to proclaim, "The Takács Quartet are matchless, their supreme artistry manifest at every level." This year, the quartet welcomes a new member—CU Boulder Assistant Professor of Violin Harumi Rhodes—acclaimed by The New York Times as a “deeply expressive violinist.”

Performance dates and times: 

Sunday, Oct. 28, 4 p.m.
Monday, Oct. 29, 7:30 p.m.

Program: 

Haydn: String Quartet No. 2 in D minor, Op. 76
Bartók: String Quartet No. 1, Op. 7
Intermission
Brahms: String Quartet No. 2 in A minor, Op. 51 

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Program Notes

Program Notes by Marc Shulgold

String Quartet No. 2 in D minor, Op. 76

Franz Joseph Haydn (1732–1809)

You can learn a lot about late 18th-century chamber works by knowing a little about their intended audiences. And a journey through Haydn’s 83 string quartets offers ample proof of how listeners impacted his compositions.

During 30 years in the employment of the Esterházy family at their palace not far from Vienna, Haydn had the opportunity to experiment with the unlimited potential of writing for two violins, viola and cello; he also shared his thoughts with young Mozart, who returned the favor in his quartets. But Haydn
also knew the tastes of his hosts and crafted music that was intellectually stimulating but not overly difficult for them to follow. And, no doubt, many of those chamber works were intended merely as accompaniment to meals and card games. 

String Quartet No. 1, Op. 7

Béla Bartók (1881-1945)

As a young composer of 27, attempting his first go-round with the string quartet, Bartók’s mind was swirling with thoughts of other composers’ music and the search for his own voice—along with the vision of a young lady who had just dumped him. That’s quite a load.

All of those factors can be traced in this first of six quartets, a work built on three continuous movements of self-discovery, held together by a few musical threads and memories of the girl that got away. She was a violinist named Stefi Geyer, who so captivated the young composer that he wrote a concerto for her, employing her four-note motif that would soon find its way into the opening violin duet of Op. 7. So crushed was Bartók at her rejection that he penned a piano bagatelle titled “She is Dead” the day her “Dear Béla” letter arrived. The resulting string quartet was identified by the composer’s friend Zoltán Kodály as “a kind of ‘Return to Life’ of one who has reached the brink of the abyss.” It’s worth noting that Bartók married another girl later that year.

String Quartet No. 2 in A minor, Op. 51

Johannes Brahms (1833-1897)

Mozart loved making self-deprecating (and often off-color) comments about the ease with which music flowed from him. You’ll never find such remarks from Brahms, who, after a decade of struggle, at last shook off the imposing specter of Beethoven and completed his magnificent First Symphony. So, it’s no surprise to learn that Brahms’ first two string quartets finally saw the light of day in 1873, when he was 40. And we shouldn’t be shocked to learn that he had numerous attempts at writinga string quartet early on, all of which wound up in the fireplace. Apparently, some of them were completed and ready for performance—until Brahms changed his mind. The shadow of Beethoven once again?

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Resources

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