Double classical treat this weekend
If chamber music is your bag, come along to Embrace Arts this Friday where the highly acclaimed Coull Quartet will perform works by Tippett, Schubert and Haydn.
Haydn’s Quartet in F minor Op.20 No.5 is actually the composer’s 23rd string quartet out of a total production of 68 during his lifetime. These were published in batches, hence Haydn’s Opus 20 is a group of six quartets, written in 1772 and first published two years later. The cover design on an early edition has given them the name of the ‘Sun’ Quartets.
Through these pieces, Haydn completely reinvented the string quartet as a form, not least in his use of all four instruments rather than, as was traditional, allowing the violins to dominate. Mozart, Beethoven and Brahms all acknowledged the enormous influence which Haydn’s quartets, in particular Opus 20, had on their own work.
Debuting in December 1935, Michael Tippet’s Quartet No.1 was his first published piece although he subsequently revised the work in 1943. Tippett was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Music by the University of Leicester in 1968.
The String Quartet No.15 D887 by Schubert had an interesting gestation. From initial sketched notes made in 1824, the piece was written in ten days in 1826, two years before the composer’s death. But only the first movement was presented on its debut and the work was not performed in its entirety until 1850, and published the following year.
The Coull Quartet will perform at Embrace Arts on Friday 4 March at 7.30pm; tickets are £15/£12. This is the second in a series of three concerts – the Coull will be back on 6 May with works by Ireland, Haydn and Beethoven.
A choice of listening
If you would like something more symphonic instead (or as well), you can enjoy the University of Leicester Sinfonia on Saturday who will present a concert of three works on the theme of ‘exile’.
Born in the UK to German parents, Sonja Grossner received much of her training in East Germany in the 1960s and 1970s, returning to this country in 1984. In 1995 she completed an MA in composition up the road at De Montfort University and Destiny was written three years later. Written in four sections, Destiny includes a motif that represents the beating of a human heart. Grossner herself described the main theme as “a twelve-tone row* representing the twelve months of the year.”
The splendidly named Enikö Magyar is the soloist for Bartok’s Viola Concerto. Written just a few weeks before the composer’s death from leukemia in 1945, the unfinished concerto was subsequently completed by three different composers. It is the first of these, by Tibor Serly, premiered in 1950, which will be performed this weekend. Winner of numerous international competitions, Magyar is regarded as one of the finest violists of her generation and it is a real treat for the University’s musicians to perform with such a talented soloist (who plays a 300-year-old viola from the collection of the Royal Academy of Music!).
The concert concludes with one that everyone knows, even if it’s just from the Hovis advert: Dvorak’s Symphony No.9 ‘From the New World’.
The University of Leicester Sinfonia will perform these works at Fraser Noble Hall on Friday 5 March, starting at 7.30pm. Tickets are £8/£6, available from Embrace Arts.
*Presumably this rhymes with ‘hoe’, not ‘how’!