As the major highlight of the IRMTNZ Conference "Bridging Cultures: Beethoven 250 and Beyond", New Zealand’s première string chamber ensemble presents a programme of three Beethoven Quartets, one from each of his so-called three periods, early, middle and late.
Opening with the unsettled world of the C Minor work from Op. 18, Beethoven’s first published collection of six quartets, NZSQ proceeds to the third Razumovsky Quartet, a work whose startling introduction recalls the opening bars of Mozart’s “Dissonance” Quartet, K.465, both works sharing the same so-called “easy” key centre of C Major. The final movement is a tour de force of string quartet virtuosity, one of those movements that leaves musicians and audience gasping for breath!
The second half of NZSQ’s Beethoven recital is devoted to just one work, the A Minor Quartet, Op. 132. Written in 1825 and premièred by the famous Schuppanzigh Quartet in 1826, this substantial work includes the famous “Heiliger Dankgesang” as its extended central movement, a piece which Beethoven had penned after a prolonged period of ill-health.