Performances‎ > ‎

November 6, 2015 at 8:00 pm

Where: Ingle Auditorium at Rochester Institute of Technology (part of the RIT Performing Artist Concert Series)
                (see directions below)
    Quartet No. 11 in F Minor, Op. 95
    Quartet No. 15 in A Minor, Op. 132

plus Mozart: Piano Concerto No. 12 in A major, K. 414 (arranged by Mozart for piano and string quartet)
    with Christopher Goodpasture, pianist

Tickets: $20 general admission (available at the door)

About the Music (notes by David Brickman):

    Though Beethoven’s String Quartet Opus 95, The Serioso, is one of his shortest quartets, it is not in any sense light.  This music is of a density and gravity that perhaps exceed that of all his earlier works in the form. The first movement, Allegro con brio, opens with an angry outburst from the four players in unison.  As with all of Beethvon’s mature works, this material forms the basis of much of the music to follow.  The gently rolling second theme contrasts greatly and, though Beethoven did not indicate so in the score, must be played more slowly than the opening music.  The movement closes softly, but with an abruptness that mirrors the opening and leaves the listener breathless and without a sense of emotional resolution. 

    A slow descending scale in the cello opens the second movement, Allegretto ma non troppo.  The songful and deeply felt music which follows is in D Major, yet it is impossible to say whether the music leans more towards joy or sorrow.  The movement concludes with a questioning chord whose answer is the frightening and frenetic third movement, scherzo, marked Allegro assai vivace ma serioso. The scherzo material is interspersed with contrasting passages to create an ABABA form.  The “B” material is a slow, yearning chorale played by the three lower instruments.  The first violin comments tirelessly upon the chorale but, again, there is emotional ambiguity in the violin’s figurations.  Beethoven instructs that the final “A” section be played even faster and the movement closes with a now familiar abruptness. 

    The slow introduction to the finale, Larghetto espressivo, evolves seamlessly into the main body of the movement, a waltz-like Allegretto agitato.  The graceful dancing music is interrupted by violent passages that express anger and even terror, aspects of the human experience that were left unaddressed by Beethoven’s sometime teacher Franz Joseph Haydn.  The movement comes to a moment of repose on a quiet F Major chord which prepares the biggest surprise in the work: a rapid, virtuosic coda which closes the quartet with unadulterated joy.

    Beethoven’s String Quartet Opus 132 (1825) is in five movements.  The first movement begins with a searching Assai sostenuto (very sustained) which leads quickly to the main body of the movement, Allegro.  In the key of A minor, this movement might be characterized as “heart on the sleeve” for its overt emotionality and drama.  The second movement, Allegro ma non tanto, is a moderately paced minuet and a tour de force demonstration of Beethoven’s ability to create musical interest with extremely limited means.  Almost every measure derives from the first few notes of the movement.  The trio section, which is sandwiched between two appearances of the minuet, is reminiscent of folk music, with the instruments mimicking a bagpipe, complete with drone. 

     The third movement, Adagio, is the longest movement and is the heart of the work.  It features long chorale-like passages which bring to mind a church service.  Beethoven marks the movement "Heiliger Dankgesang eines Genesenen an die Gottheit, in der lydischen Tonart" (Holy song of thanksgiving of a convalescent to the Deity), reflecting his gratitude for having survived a year-long serious intestinal illness.  The fourth movement is a terse and rapid march, which connects to the Finale by means of an accompanied recitative.  Listeners may recall the Bass solo, which introduces the “Ode to Joy” movement of Beethoven’s ninth symphony.  The Finale is a lilting and yearning waltz-like rondo, which has episodes of obsessive outburst and ends with a furiously rapid sprint. 

We are thrilled to once again be invited to appear on the RIT Performing Artist Concert Series, and look forward to the chamber music version of Mozart's great piano concerto with Christopher Goodpasture (click here for Christopher's biography).  

Ingle Auditorium - directions

    Enter the RIT campus at the main entrance, and proceed past the oval green field to your left to the yield sign at the roundabout / traffic circle. Enter the roundabout passing two exits from the roundabout on your right. Take the third exit on to the main road that loops around the campus. Immediately to your right from this road, turn into Parking Lot D. After parking, look toward the building with the large loading dock next to Lot D. This is the Ice Rink. Walk to the right of the Ice Rink, and follow the sidewalk to the end. The Student Alumni Union (Building 4) is straight ahead. Ingle Auditorium is located inside the SAU. Once you have entered the SAU, look for signs that will direct you to Ingle Auditorium.