24 February 2018
Haydn: Quartet Op 76 No2
The string quartets of Joseph Haydn afford a unique opportunity in the annals of Western art to trace the development of a major genre from birth to maturity, and all within the output of a single artist. A corollary benefit is to outline the evolution of a leading composer's genius, since Haydn's quartets extend from his very first to his very last published works. This quartet in D minor is known as "The Fifths"- a reference to the falling perfect fifths at its start od the first movement.
Ravel: Quartet in F Major
Ravel had been a student at the Paris Conservatoire, but his unconventional ideas had incurred the displeasure of its ultra-conservative director Théodore Dubois and some other members of the faculty. His friend and teacher Gabriel Fauré continued to encourage and advise him, and Ravel made continual efforts to win the country's top musical award, the Prix de Rome in the face of resistance from the Conservatoire regime. By 1904 it was becoming clear to the musical public that Ravel was the outstanding French composer of his generation. This quartet if F major is one of his best loved works.
Tchaikovsky: Quartet No. 1 in D
The String Quartet No. 1 in D major, Opus 11, was Tchaikovsky's first completed string quartet of three string quartets, published during his lifetime. An earlier attempt had been abandoned after the first movement had been completed. Composed in February 1871, it was premiered in Moscow on 28 March 1871. When the quartet was performed at a tribute concert for LeoTolstoy, the author was said to have been brought to tears by this movement. “…Tolstoy, sitting next to me and listening to the Andante of my First Quartet, burst into tears".