Quartetto Prometeo 

St Christopher

Quartetto Prometeo
Event 6
Sunday October 10th, 3.00pm 
Little Missenden Church

A leading Italian string quartet play Schubert, Schumann and Sciarrino
Robert Schumann
String Quartet no 2 in F major, op41/2
Salvatore Sciarrino
String Quartet no 7
Franz Schubert
String Quartet no 14 in D minor, D810, 'Death and the Maiden'

This is an archived event from the 2010 Programme.

QUARTETTO PROMETEO:  Giulio Rovighi violin, Aldo Campagnari violin, Carmelo Giallombardo viola, Francesco Dillon cello

When he was 20 Schubert wrote Death and the Maiden, a chilling song in which a young girl meets Death and pleads unsuccessfully for her life. During his final illness Schubert returned to the theme as a basis for his great D minor quartet (also known as Death and the Maiden), a passionate and moving piece, full of minor-key darkness. It has far eclipsed the original song, becoming a cornerstone of the quartet repertoire - and one of the most popular pieces in all chamber music.

After studying the quartets of Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven, the newly-married Schumann wrote his three expressive and poetic quartets in 1842, in a sudden burst of chamber music creativity. They should be heard more often. Keith Anderson described them in a Naxos sleevenote as "masterpieces in their own right", full of "musical inventiveness, youthful exuberance and intense poetic feeling". This F major quartet is an attractive and dreamily romantic work.

The Italian Salvatore Sciarrino is one of Europe's most influential and celebrated living composers. His music is intensely individual - it can sound strange at first, but his curiously vivid and accessible sound-world draws the listener deeply in. It inhabits the borderland between sleep and waking - dreamlike, delicate fragments of sound that crawl out of silences, whispers and hints, sighs, flickering sonic phantoms that are there and not there - like listening for a baby's sleeping breath: it's hardly there yet filled with wonder and anxiety. Describing the impression of his intensely quieting music, Sciarrino has written: "To those who are used to modern life, my music may seem like an ant on the back of an elephant. I would rather see it as an erupting volcano seen from a distance."

The Italian Quartetto Prometeo has built a brilliant international career, embracing an Aldeburgh residency, many major prizes (including the 1998 Prague Spring Competition), and performances at venues like the Concertgebouw, Musikverein, Wigmore Hall, Wexford Festival, Prague Spring Festival, Accademia di Santa Cecilia in Rome and Musée d'Orsay in Paris.

The quartet is extremely versatile. Their repertoire includes classic quartet works, but they also have a matchless reputation in the contemporary music field, including numerous world premieres. Leading-edge composers like Sciarrino and Scelsi have written works for them. Reviewers comment on the burning intensity of their sound, rigorous understanding of the music, and pin-sharp accuracy.

"Behind its typical glowing Italian sound, with tuning dead centred on the note, lies a vein of intellectual toughness" (T Potter, The Strad)

"Here was playing of passionate intensity and lyrical beauty" (Frank Cliff, East Anglian Daily Times)

For the Quartetto Prometeo webpage, please click here

For information about Salvatore Sciarrino, see the following links: Wikipedia, Ricordi.

Concert sponsored by Kenneth Walker