Stradivari Quartet /  fot. Armin Nussbaumer
Stradivari Quartet / fot. Armin Nussbaumer
Chamber concerts
Stradivari Quartet
10.02.2022
Thu.
7:00 PM
NFM, Chamber Hall
Programme:

B. Smetana String Quartet No. 1 in E minor "From My Life" 
J. Brahms String Quartet No. 3 in B flat major op. 67

Performers:

Stradivari Quartet:
Xiaoming Wang – 1st violin
Maya Kadosh – 2nd violin
Lech Antonio Uszyński – viola
Maja Weber – cello

Venue:
NFM, Chamber Hall
plac Wolności 1, 50-071 Wrocław
Tickets:
from 20 to 55 zł

The Stradivari Quartet, founded in 2007, has already performed on many international stages, among others in Vienna’s Konzerthaus, Hamburg’s Elbphilharmonie or in London’s Wigmore Hall. Since 2017, the artists have been bound by a recording contract with the renowned RCA Red Seal company. Although both works included in the programme represent the era of Romanticism, they are completely different from each other, just as their authors were different.

Bedřich Smetana is considered the father of Czech music. He gained fame and recognition mainly thanks to operas and the series of tone poems Má Vlast. Like other national composers, the Czech artist was eager to write programme works. For him, music was a story into which he gladly wove elements taken from Czech folk music. It is no different in the case of the autobiographical String Quartet No. 1 in E minor, “From My Life”. The work was written in 1876, when the composer’s health began to deteriorate rapidly. At this difficult moment in his life, Smetana began to settle accounts with the past, and transformed his thoughts and feelings into the sounds of a quartet, to which he attached his own commentary. The first movement, with an extensive viola solo at the beginning, presents the artist’s optimistic youth. In the second movement, we will hear the rhythm of polka – a Czech folk dance. The third movement, on the other hand, is an elegy dedicated to the memory of the artist’s late first wife. In the finale the long-held very high note e symbolizes the noise that Smetana began to hear a few years before the quartet was written. Unfortunately, it was a harbinger of complete deafness.

Johannes Brahms was totally unconcerned with programming. He was not interested in presenting events or containing autobiographical plots in his pieces. Most of all, he wrote absolute music, that is music in which the clarity of form was the most important. This does not mean, of course, that they were academic or emotionless compositions! Brahms’s music is very expressive, and a great example is the cheerful String Quartet No. 3 in B flat major op. 67. The work was written in the summer of 1875, so only a year before Smetana’s quartet featured in the programme. The German composer dedicated his work to an amateur cellist, microbiologist and botanist by profession – Theodore Wilhelm Engelmann, whom he visited during his stay in Utrecht. This dedication was quite perverse, as there is not a single solo section dedicated to the cello in the entire quartet!

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