Lauded by The New York Times for "making the most traditional of works feel radical once more," the Takács Quartet presents a compelling program featuring three essential cornerstones of the chamber music repertoire.
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TAKÁCS STRING QUARTET
EDWARD DUSINBERRE, VIOLIN
HARUMI RHODES, VIOLIN
GERALDINE WALTHER, VIOLA
ANDRÁS FEJÉR, CELLO
MOZART: String Quartet No. 19 in C major, K. 465 Dissonance
BARTÓK: String Quartet No. 4
MENDELSSOHN: String Quartet No. 2 in A minor, Op. 13
Pre-Concert Talk presented by Wall Street Insurance in partnership with Cincinnati Insurance held one hour prior to concert.
MOZART: String Quartet No. 19 in C major, K. 465 Dissonance
String Quartet No. 19 in C major, K. 465, “Dissonant” (“Haydn No. 6”) (1785)
WOLFGANG AMADEUS MOZART (1756-1791)
Mozart first mentioned his acquaintance with Haydn in a letter to his father on April 24, 1784, but he probably had met the older composer soon after moving to Vienna three years earlier. Though his duties kept him in Hungary at Esterháza Palace for most of the year, Haydn usually spent the winters in Vienna, and it is likely that he and Mozart attended or even played together at some of the “string quartet parties” held during the cold months. Friendship and mutual admiration developed between them, despite the 24 years difference in their ages, and they took delight in learning from and praising each other’s music. Mozart’s greatest testament to his respect for Haydn is the set of six superb string quartets composed between 1782 and 1785, and dedicated to his colleague upon their publication in September 1785.
The C major Quartet quickly gained the sobriquet “Dissonant” for the adventurous harmonic excursions of its slow introduction. Actually, the introduction’s heightened expression, a quality increasingly evident in the works of Mozart’s later years, is the perfect emotional foil for setting off the sunny nature of much of the music that follows. The main body of the opening Allegro is in sonata form, invested with the thorough motivic working-out and instrumental interweavings Mozart learned from Haydn. The following Andante, in sonatina form (sonata without development section), is among Mozart’s most ecstatic inspirations. The Menuetto is an elegant dance subtly inflected with suave melodic chromaticism. The sonata-form finale returns the ebullient mood of the opening movement.
BARTÓK: String Quartet No. 4
String Quartet No. 4 (1928)
BÉLA BARTÓK (1881-1945)
Bartók’s Fourth Quartet, according to the composer’s biographer Halsey Stevens, “comes close to being, if it does not actually represent, Bartók’s greatest and most profound achievement.” This work, written in summer 1928, soon after Bartók’s first tour of America as composer and pianist, is at once challenging and yet most satisfying. Guided by the spirits of Bach and Beethoven, Bartók was obsessed throughout his life with achieving formal integration in his music. He thoroughly assimilated the traditional Classic forms into his style and added to them a formal technique new with 20th-century music — the so-called “arch” form. Such pieces were held in balance by an overall symmetry in which phrases, sections and complete movements were paired, mirror-like, around a central point. The Fourth Quartet is Bartók’s most rigorous application of this principle.
The five movements of the Fourth Quartet are arranged around the slow central movement, which is itself organized symmetrically in three parts (A–B–A) around the twittering “night music” of its central section. The first and fifth movements are paired in mood, tempo and thematic material, an association further enhanced by sharing the same music in their closing pages. The second and fourth movements, both scherzos, are related in their themes, head-long rhythmic propulsion, and use of novel effects from the strings: the second movement is played throughout with mutes, while the fourth movement requires a continuous pizzicato, including a percussive snapping of the string against the fingerboard.
MENDELSSOHN: String Quartet No. 2 in A minor, Op. 13
String Quartet No. 2 in A minor, Op. 13, “Ist Es Wahr?” (1827)
FELIX MENDELSSOHN (1809-1847)
In spring 1827, Mendelssohn indulged in a short holiday at Sakrow, the Magnus family estate near Potsdam, and there he fell in love, at least a little. The circumstances, even the maiden’s name, are unknown, but he was sufficiently moved by the experience to set to music a poem of his friend Johann Gustav Droyson that began, “Is it true [Ist es wahr?] that you are always waiting for me in the arbored walk?” The piece, published two years later under the title Frage (“Question”) as the first number of his Op. 9 set of songs, was woven as thematic material into the new A minor Quartet. The score was published in 1829 as Mendelssohn’s Op. 13.
The Quartet opens with a slow introduction that serves as an emotional foil for the tempestuous main body of the movement. Two arching phrases — the second soaring high in the first violin’s compass — preface the quotation of the searching motto phrase from Ist Es Wahr?, recognizable by its long–short– long rhythm. The viola initiates the principal theme, based on the motto rhythm; the cello posits a lyrical melody as the complementary subject. The scurrying phrases return to mark the onset of the development, which is remarkable for the intensity of its counterpoint and its nearly febrile mood. The recapitulation serves both to return and enhance the earlier themes. The deeply felt Adagio offers another paraphrase of the motto theme at beginning and end as the frame for the somber, densely packed fugal episode that occupies the middle of the movement. The Intermezzo uses a folkish tune in its outer sections to surround an ethereal passage at the center. A dramatic cadenza-recitative for the violin launches the finale. A clutch of highly charged motives is presented and worked out with great intensity as the music unfolds. The work closes not with a wail of tragedy or a sunburst of redemption, but with a recall of the Quartet’s most introspective moments — first the theme of the Adagio and then the introduction from the opening movement, bringing with it a final reflection upon the music and thought of Ist Es Wahr?
The Takács Quartet, now entering its forty-fourth season, is renowned for the vitality of its interpretations. The New York Times recently lauded the ensemble for “revealing the familiar as unfamiliar, making the most traditional of works feel radical once more”, and the Financial Times described a recent concert at the Wigmore Hall: “Even in the most fiendish repertoire these players show no fear, injecting the music with a heady sense of freedom.
The Takács Quartet, now entering its forty-fourth season, is renowned for the vitality of its interpretations. The New York Times recently lauded the ensemble for “revealing the familiar as unfamiliar, making the most traditional of works feel radical once more”, and the Financial Times described a recent concert at the Wigmore Hall: “Even in the most fiendish repertoire these players show no fear, injecting the music with a heady sense of freedom. At the same time, though, there is an uncompromising attention to detail: neither a note nor a bow-hair is out of place.” Based in Boulder at the University of Colorado, Edward Dusinberre, Harumi Rhodes (violins), Geraldine Walther (viola) and András Fejér (cello) perform eighty concerts a year worldwide.
During the 2018-19 season the ensemble will continue its four annual concerts as Associate Artists at London's Wigmore Hall. In August 2018, the Quartet appeared at the Edinburgh, Snape Proms, Menton and Rheingau festivals. Other European venues later in the season include Berlin, Cologne, Baden-Baden, Bilbao and the Bath Mozartfest. The Quartet will perform extensively in USA, including two concerts at New York’s Lincoln Center, and at the University of Chicago, Princeton and Berkeley. A tour with Garrick Ohlssohn will culminate in a recording for Hyperion of the Elgar and Amy Beach piano quintets. The latest Takács cd, to be released in the summer of 2019, features Dohnanyi's two piano quintets and his second string quartet, with pianist Marc-André Hamelin.
In 2014 the Takács became the first string quartet to win the Wigmore Hall Medal. The Medal, inaugurated in 2007, recognizes major international artists who have a strong association with the Hall. Recipients so far include Andras Schiff, Thomas Quasthoff, Menahem Pressler and Dame Felicity Lott. In 2012, Gramophone announced that the Takács was the only string quartet to be inducted into its first Hall of Fame, along with such legendary artists as Jascha Heifetz, Leonard Bernstein and Dame Janet Baker. The ensemble also won the 2011 Award for Chamber Music and Song presented by the Royal Philharmonic Society in London.
The Takács Quartet performed Philip Roth’s Everyman program with Meryl Streep at Princeton in 2014, and again with her at the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto in 2015. The program was conceived in close collaboration with Philip Roth. The Quartet is known for such innovative programming. They first performed Everyman at Carnegie Hall in 2007 with Philip Seymour Hoffman. They have toured 14 cities with the poet Robert Pinsky, collaborate regularly with the Hungarian Folk group Muzsikas, and in 2010 they collaborated with the Colorado Shakespeare Festival and David Lawrence Morse on a drama project that explored the composition of Beethoven’s last quartets. Aspects of the quartet’s interests and history are explored in Edward Dusinberre’s book, Beethoven for a Later Age: The Journey of a String Quartet, which takes the reader inside the life of a string quartet, melding music history and memoir as it explores the circumstances surrounding the composition of Beethoven’s quartets.
The Takács records for Hyperion Records, and their releases for that label include string quartets by Haydn, Schubert, Janáček, Smetana, Debussy and Britten, as well as piano quintets by César Franck and Shostakovich (with Marc-André Hamelin), and viola quintets by Brahms (with Lawrence Power). For their CDs on the Decca/London label, the Quartet has won three Gramophone Awards, a Grammy Award, three Japanese Record Academy Awards, Disc of the Year at the inaugural BBC Music Magazine Awards, and Ensemble Album of the Year at the Classical Brits. Full details of all recordings can be found in the Recordings section of the Quartet's website.
The members of the Takács Quartet are Christoffersen Faculty Fellows at the University of Colorado Boulder. The Quartet has helped to develop a string program with a special emphasis on chamber music, where students work in a nurturing environment designed to help them develop their artistry. Through the university, two of the quartet’s members benefit from the generous loan of instruments from the Drake Instrument Foundation. The members of the Takács are on the faculty at the Music Academy of the West in Santa Barbara, where they run an intensive summer string quartet seminar, and Visiting Fellows at the Guildhall School of Music.
The Takács Quartet was formed in 1975 at the Franz Liszt Academy in Budapest by Gabor Takács-Nagy, Károly Schranz, Gabor Ormai and András Fejér, while all four were students. It first received international attention in 1977, winning First Prize and the Critics’ Prize at the International String Quartet Competition in Evian, France. The Quartet also won the Gold Medal at the 1978 Portsmouth and Bordeaux Competitions and First Prizes at the Budapest International String Quartet Competition in 1978 and the Bratislava Competition in 1981. The Quartet made its North American debut tour in 1982. After several changes of personnel, the most recent addition is second violinist Harumi Rhodes, following Károly Schranz's retirement in April 2018. In 2001 the Takács Quartet was awarded the Order of Merit of the Knight’s Cross of the Republic of Hungary, and in March 2011 each member of the Quartet was awarded the Order of Merit Commander’s Cross by the President of the Republic of Hungary.
Photo credit: Amanda Tipton
Tuesday, July 16 | 6:00PM
Rock-and-roll energy meets classical sophistication with the Bravo! Vail debut of the St Lawrence String Quartet, joined by Anne-Marie McDermott for a tenderly expressive Piano Quintet by America's first truly successful female composer.
Tuesday, July 2 | 6:00PM
Anne-Marie McDermott and Dallas Symphony's principle string players join forces for two gorgeous large-scale works, filled with shimmering melodies and brilliant displays of virtuosity, plus a delightfully lyrical trio by Dvořák.
Thursday, August 1 | 7:30PM
Perpetulum, Philip Glass's first-ever composition for percussion ensemble, is "joyous...rich...immensely appealing to hear" (Chicago Tribune). Scored for amplified pianos and a vast array of percussion, Music for a Summer Evening is a sonic spectacular: alluring, unorthodox, and transcendent.
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Where are the chamber music series performances held?
Bravo! Vail Chamber Music Series concerts at held at Donovan Pavilion, located at 1600 S Frontage Rd W, Vail, CO 81657.
What time do performances begin?
Concerts start promptly at 6:00PM. Doors open 30 minutes prior. Give yourself plenty of time to park and get to the venue. Latecomers will be escorted to seats by ushers at an appropriate interval.
Where do I park for Chamber Music Series performances?
Free parking is available at Donovan Pavilion.
How long do concerts last?
Concerts generally last 90 minutes to 2 hours including a scheduled intermission.
How do I buy tickets?
Tickets, passes, and gift certificates may be ordered in the following ways:
1. Online: bravovail.org
2. By phone 877.812.5700
3. In person: Bravo! Vail 2271 N Frontage Rd W Suite C, Vail, CO 81657
Bravo! Vail accepts American Express, Visa, MasterCard, and Discover credit cards, cash, and checks. There is a $2 fee per ticket. Tickets are delivered by mail or email, or may be picked up at the Box Office.
What are the Box Office hours?
Bravo! Vail Box Office hours are Monday-Friday from 9AM to 4PM. During the Festival, hours include Saturday & Sunday from 10AM to 4PM. The Bravo! Vail Box Office can be reached at 877.812.5700. Tickets are also sold at the Donovan Pavilion one hour prior to concert.
Where is the Will Call window?
Will Call tickets may be picked up one hour prior to the concert at the Box Office table located to the right of the entrance of Donovan Pavilion.
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Discounts for groups of 15 or more are available for select concerts. Please call 970.827.4316 for more information.
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Tickets are non-refundable and non-exchangeable. You may release your tickets or leave them for a friend at Will Call by calling the Box Office.
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What is the seating plan?
Seating for Chamber Music Series concerts is general admission and is ADA (American Disability Act) accessible.
What food and beverages are available at the concert?
Food and beverages including beer and wine are available for purchase on the back patio prior to the concert and at intermission.
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There is no dress code for concerts.
What are some general rules of Chamber Series concert etiquette?
Please allow time for parking and seating. Concert attendees must silence all mobile devices prior to performances to not disrupt musicians and other patrons. Please limit conversations and other noisy activities during the performance. We recommend eating prior to the concert or at intermission. Parental supervision is required for all children attending Bravo! Vail concerts.
What is the Donovan Pavilion Child Policy?
Chamber Music Series concerts are very intimate. We strongly recommend that parents bring children aged six or older who are able to sit quietly through the entire performance.
What if I lose something at the concert?
Call the Bravo! Vail Box Office 970.827.5700 or the Donovan Pavilion 970.477.3699.
What if I still have questions?
Please contact the Box Office at 877.812.5700 Mon–Fri 9AM–4PM (and Sat–Sun 10AM-4PM during the Festival).