Sini Simonen, Benjamin Bowman, Steven Dann, Richard Lester at the 15th Esbjerg International Chamber Music Festival 2013. 25th August at South Denmark’s Music Academy, SMKS, Esbjerg http://www.eicmf.dk EICMF is unique in Denmark as it invites artists to collaborate in new constellations, form new relationships, establish a foundation for exchange and annually act as a host for an international community of artists. **********************************************************************
String Quartet No. 13 (Schubert)
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
“Rosamunde Quartet” redirects here. For the German musical quartet, see Rosamunde Quartett.
Starting in 1824, Schubert largely turned away from the composition of songs to concentrate on instrumental chamber music. In addition to the A-minor String Quartet, the Quartet in D minor, the Octet, the Grand Duo and Divertissement a la Hongroise (both for piano duet), and the Sonata for Arpeggione and Piano all date from that year. With the exception of the Grand Duo, all of these works display cyclic elements—that is, two or more movements in each work are deliberately related in some way to enhance the sense of unity. In the case of the A-minor Quartet, a motive from the third-movement Minuet becomes the most important melodic figure for the following finale (Chusid 1964, 37).
The quartet consists of four movements which last around 30 minutes in total.
Allegro ma non troppo
Menuetto: Allegretto – Trio
The first movement opens with a texture reminiscent of the melancholic theme from one of Schubert’s earliest songs, Gretchen am Spinnrade and also quotes “Schöne Welt, wo bist du?” The reference to Gretchen am Spinnrade is not a direct quotation, but rather is a similarity in the second violin’s restless accompanimental figuration, hovering around the mediant and underpinned by a repeated figure in cello and viola, which precedes the first thematic entrance. This also recalls the accompaniment to the first subject of the “Unfinished” Symphony (Westrup 1969, 31; Taylor 2014, 49). It is the second movement, however, which has lent the Quartet its nickname, being based on a theme from the incidental music for Rosamunde (a similar theme appears in the Impromptu in B-flat written three years later). The dactyl–spondee rhythm pervading this movement unmistakably shows the influence of Beethoven’s Seventh Symphony (Temperley 1981, 149). The form of this slow movement uses the same modified exposition-recapitulation form found in the slow movement of Schubert’s “Great” C-major Symphony, where an ambiguity of formal definition is created by the introduction of a developmental passage shortly after the return of the primary theme in the recapitulation (Shamgar 2001, 154). The minuet quotes the melody of another song by Schubert, Die Götter Griechenlands, D. 677, from November 1819, a connection only first noticed more than a century after the work’s composition by Willi Kahl (1930, 2:358). The opening of this melody recurs in inversion at the beginning of the trio, and is later echoed in the opening of the finale (Wollenberg 2011, 201–202, n11).
Sini Simonen, Benjamin Bowman, Steven Dann, Richard Lester at the 15th Esbjerg International Chamber Music Festival 2013. 25th August at South Denmark’s Music Academy, SMKS, Esbjerg http://www.eicmf.dk EICMF is unique in Denmark as it invites artists to collaborate in new constellations, form new relationships, establish a foundation for exchange and annually act as a host for an international community of artist
“While making up the programs of the Russian Musical Society, [Eduard] Napravnik addressed an inquiry to me, as to which of my compositions I should like to hear performed at these concerts. I indicated the recently written “Skazka” (Fairy-tale) and gave the score to Napravnik. Shortly afterwards the latter proposed that I conduct the piece myself. I consented. At one of the earlier concerts of that season the “Fairy-tale” was placed on the program. I conducted. The performance would have been quite successful if the concert-master, Pikkel (then growing morbidly nervous) , had not jumped out, without any reason, at the entrance of the violins divisi towards the end of the piece and by so doing confused the other violinists. However, the violins speedily recovered, and the mistake had hardly been noticed by the audience. Save for this episode, I was pleased with the performance as well as with the piece itself, which sounded colourful and brilliant. In general “Skazka” undoubtedly recalls in style “Snyegoorochka”, as having been composed simultaneously with it. Strange to this day hearers grasp with difficulty the true meaning of the “Fairy-tale’s” program: they seek in it a chained up tom-cat walking around an oak tree, and all the fairy tale episodes which were jotted down by Pushkin in the prologue to his “Ruslan and Lyudmila” and which served as the starting point for my Fairy-tale. In his brief enumeration of the elements of the Russian fairy-tale epos that make up the stories of the miraculous tom-cat, Pushkin says
“One fairy tale I do recall, I’ll tell it now to one and all,”
and then narrates the fairy-tale of “Ruslan and Lyudmila.” But I narrate my own musical fairy-tale. By my very narrating the musical fairy-tale and quoting Pushkin’s prologue I show that my fairy-tale is, in the first place, Russian, and secondly, magical, as if it were one of the miraculous tom-cat’s fairy-tales that I had overheard and retained in my memory. Yet I had not at all set out to depict in it all that Pushkin had jotted down in the prologue, any more than he puts all of it into his fairy-tale of “Ruslan.” Let everyone seek in my fairy-tale only the episodes that may appear before his imagination, but let him not insist that I include everything enumerated in Pushkin’s prologue. The endeavor to discern in my fairy-tale the tom cat that had related this same fairy-tale is groundless, to say the least. The two above-quoted lines of Pushkin are printed in italics in the program of my “Fairy-tale”, to distinguish them from the other verses and direct thereby the auditor’s attention to them. But this has been understood neither by the audiences nor the critics, who have interpreted my “Skazka” in all ways crooked and awry and who, in my time, as usual, of course, did not approve of it. On the whole, however, the “Fairy-tale” won sufficient success with the public.”