This is an elegantly balanced programme from the matchless St Petersburg Quartet.
Beethoven’s late Grosse Fuge was composed as the last movement of the op130 quartet, but its scale, breathtaking raw power and formidable difficulty frightened his publisher Artaria, who persuaded him to write another finale and publish the great fugue separately. It’s one of Beethoven’s greatest achievements – a major technical challenge for any quartet, and a thrilling ride for the audience. Stravinsky called it "an absolutely contemporary piece of music that will be contemporary forever".
Shostakovich’s emotional and beautifully wrought 8th quartet is one of his finest and most personal works. Its first performance drew a standing ovation and a full encore. Over 100 commercial recordings show its continuing popularity. The piece communicates directly, but has great depths.
String quartets weren’t even dreamed of when Lassus wrote his 16th century Stabat Mater, but its lucid lines and tenderly plangent harmonies translate brilliantly into the medium.
Schnittke's endlessly fascinating third quartet weaves the other three works together – he quotes fragments and develops these diverse raw materials into his own powerful music.
The St Petersburg is one of the world's leading quartets. Their powerful and moving performances of Shostakovich and Beethoven delighted audiences at two previous Festival visits. They have won a string of prizes and awards. Their Hyperion CD set of the complete Shostakovich cycle is one of the most admired, and they have achieved a Grammy nomination and 'Best Record' honours in both Stereo Review and Gramophone Magazine.
“The quartet is an unbeatable world-class ensemble. Their ensemble presentation is seamless and their musical insight is flawless" (Charleston Post and Courier)
"This cycle could grow to some of the most impressive Shostakovich performances ever placed on disc" (Fanfare, USA)
Please click here for the quartet's website
Concert sponsored by Pat and Alan Hedges
Friday October 9th 8.00pm
Little Missenden Church