Philharmonia Quartett Berlin
Berlin Philharmonic String Quartet
Tuesday, Oct. 21, 2014 7:30 pm
Harris Concert Hall, University of Memphis
Founded in 1984 by the principal concertmaster and the string section leaders of the Berlin Philharmonic, the quartet has celebrated a critically acclaimed career and has established itself among the world’s premier string quartets. Annual appearances include the Berlin Festival, the Salzburg Festival, the Bath Festival, and London’s Wigmore Hall. They have made many recordings and thrill audiences throughout the world with their incredible artistry. Yehudi Menuhin told them: “I’d like to hear music always played as beautifully as you play.”
Beethoven, String Quartet No. 11, Op. 95 in F minor
Beethoven, String Quartet No. 16, Op. 135 in F major
Beethoven, String Quartet No. 1, Op. 18 in F major
Concerts International 2014-2015 Season
Tuesday, Sept. 16, 2014 Kavafian-Schub-Shifrin Trio
Tuesday, Oct. 21, 2014 Philharmonia Quartett Berlin (Berlin Philharmonic Quartet)
Wednesday, Feb. 4, 2015 Cann Sisters Piano Duo
Tuesday, Mar. 17, 2015 East Coast Chamber Orchestra
Wednesday, Apr. 8, 2015 Dover Quartet with Victor Asuncion, piano
3775 Central Avenue, Memphis, TN 38111
Harris Concert Hall – University of Memphis
Free parking in the University of Memphis parking lot on the north side of Central Avenue.
Click here for parking map. Wheelchair accessible.
To enjoy Beethoven
Last month I ate a wonderful meal at Gene and Georgetti’s in Chicago. I watched my dinner companion and his wife order a T-bone. They were generous enough to give me a bite. That one bite of perfectly cooked steak is the feeling I want you to have while listening to these three quartets. I could no more describe my feeling of total contentment than I could write and tell you what you might or should experience in listening to these incomparable musicians play these three Beethoven masterpieces.
To Appreciate Beethoven
The three quartets we will hear tonight are interestingly linked together. The first of these, No. 11, Opus 95 in F minor, is Beethoven’s last before his late string quartets. It is commonly referred to as the “Serioso,” stemming from its title “Quartett Serioso” at the beginning and the tempo designation for the third movement. It is one of the shortest and most compact of all the Beethoven quartets and shares a tonality (F) with his last quartet, No. 16, Opus 135 in F major and with his first quartet, No. 1, Opus 18 in F major. The three quartets are alike in character and key, as well as in the presence of a final frenetic section in the parallel major key.
Ludwig van Beethoven was born in Bonn, Germany in December 1770 … but no one is sure of the exact date! He was baptized on 17 December, so he probably born the day before. His birthplace is now the Beethoven-Haus museum. As a young boy he played the violin, often enjoying improvisation rather than reading from a score. His father once asked: “What silly trash are you scratching together now? You know I can’t bear that — scratch by not note, otherwise your scratching won’t amount to much.” … How wrong he was.
Composing anything at all is a challenge, even for a musical genius. So when you consider that Beethoven started to go deaf around 1796, aged just 25, it’s a wonder he managed to write any music at all. He communicated using conversation books, asking his friends to write down what they wanted to say so he could respond. He noticed he could not her the higher notes when playing the piano, and this was when he was still in his twenties. In order to hear the notes, he sawed the legs off a piano so he could feel the vibrations better while on the floor at the legless piano.
By 1802 Beethoven was almost at breaking point. On a retreat to Heiligenstadt, just outside Vienna, he wrote: “I would have ended my life – it was only my art that held me back. Ah, it seemed to me impossible to leave the world until I had brought forth all that I felt was within me.”
Despite losing his hearing, Beethoven continued to compose, conduct and perform. He used a special rod on his piano soundboard which he used to bite as it helped him determine the sound through the vibrations that traveled from the piano to his jaw.
To experience Beethoven
His music has been played all over the world for over 180 years. Even if you’ve never been in a concert hall, if you’ve seen a movie, any movie, in your life, chances are you’ve heard music by Beethoven. Beethoven’s music is used extensively on the silver screen.
The Age of Innocence – Beethoven’s Piano Sonata No. 8, 2nd movement
Before Sunrise – Beethoven’s Piano Sonata No. 8, 3rd movement
Crimson Tide – Beethoven’s Piano Sonata No. 14
Daddy Day Care – Beethoven’s String Quartet Op. 18, No. 5
Dead Poets Society – Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 5 “Emperor”, 2nd movement
Fantasia – Beethoven’s Symphony No. 6
Frances – Beethoven’s Symphony No. 7, 2nd movement
George of the Jungle – Beethoven’s String Quartet, Op. 18, No. 6
Hilary and Jackie – Beethoven’s Piano Trio No. 7 “Archduke”
Immortal Beloved: an entire soundtrack of Beethoven’s works
The Horse Whisperer – Beethoven’s Cello Sonata No. 1
Misery – Beethoven’s Piano Sonata No. 14, 1st movement
Mr. Hollands Opus – Beethoven’s Symphony No. 7, 2nd movement
Romey and Michelles High School Reunion – Piano Sonata No. 8 “Pathetique”
Star Trek: Insurrection – Beethoven’s Piano Sonata No. 8 “Pathetique”, 1st movement
Traffic – Beethoven’s Piano Sonata No. 1 in F minor
Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5
Austin Powers in Goldmember
The Breakfast Club
Cat on a Hot Tin Roof
Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9
Ace Ventura Pet Detective
A Clockwork Orange
Dead Poets Society
Philharmonia Quatett Berlin
Daniel Stabrawa, violin
Christian Stadelmann, violin
Neithard Resa, viola
Dietmar Schwalke, cello
Hailed as “four of the best” by the British press after their debut at Wigmore Hall in London over two decades ago, the Philharmonia Quartett Berlin has celebrated a critically acclaimed career, establishing itself among the world’s premier string quartets with 20-plus years of international concerts and a large and diverse discography. Founded in 1984 by the principal concertmaster and the string section leaders of the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, the quartet appears regularly at the world’s most prestigious concert alls such as Carnegie and Wigmore, as well as a series of five performances each season presented by the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra. Other highlights include a private concert at the Vatican at the invitation of Pope Benedict XVI and regular invitations from the Spanish Royal Family to the Palacio Real to play on the royal Stradivari instruments.
The ensemble’s extensive discography includes recordings of the quartets of Beethoven, Mendelssohn, Mozart, Shostakovich and Max Reger for the Thorofon Classics label. The Reger recording was awarded the German Record Critics prize. The quartet has twice been awarded the famed ECHO Klassik prize for Chamber Music.
Until the sudden death of cellist Jan Diesselhorst in February 2009 the members of the Philharmonia Quartett Berlin had never changed. Cellist Dietmar Schwalke continues the tradition of superb ensemble playing on the great stages of the world.
Concerts International brings the world’s best chamber music to Memphis. This long-running chamber music series is an important part of the richly varied music scene in Memphis, from the Blues, Elvis and Graceland, Sun Studio, Beale Street, Stax Records Museum and Academy, the Memphis Rock and Soul Museum, and the Gibson Guitar Factory and Museum to Opera Memphis, the Memphis Symphony, and more.