Czech chamber music
esterday evening at the Queen Elizabeth Hall the Emerson String Quartet performed chamber music by Dvořák and Janáček. The opening work was Dvořák's String Quartet No. 10 in E flat, which was written in 1878, whenthe composer's international career was taking off (though as it's Opus 51 he had already composed a large number of works). It was commissioned to reflect Czech nationality, and is based on the spirit of folk music - it's lyrical and lively, and was attractively played by the Quartet.
Next came the first four of Dvořák's 'Cypresses' - arrangements of songs he had composed earlier, and with more depth than one might have expected from the source. The first half ended with Janáček's String Quartet No.1, nicknamed 'The Kreutzer Sonata' after the novel by Tolstoy which inspired it - itself taking its title from the Beethoven Sonata of that name. Janáček's music is a sharp contrast to Dvořák's - a muted start, and then often spiky, with much use of 'sul pont' - where the violinist uses the bow close to the bridge, producing a thin, edgy sound.
The second half consisted of Dvořák's Piano Quintet No.2, for which the quartet was joined by pianist Menahem Pressler. This again showed Dvořák's gift for melody and Czech atmosphere, with a flowing and gentle first movement, and a final movement with a rapid and lively dance tune in gypsy style. All well played by the Quartet and much appreciated by the audience.
Posted: Wed - March 3, 2010 at 08:54 AM by Roger Wilmut
Total entries in this category:
Published On: Mar 11, 2016 05:00 PM