Franz Joseph Haydn (1732-1809)
String Quartet No. 27 in D Major, Op. 20, No. 4, Hob. III:34 (1772)
Tokyo String Quartet: Martin Beaver & Kikuei Ikeda, violins; Kazuhide Isomura, viola; Clive Greensmith, cello
Marc Neikrug and Kerry Frumkin say these early, opus 20 quartets already exhibit the virtuosity, elegance, and more that earned Haydn lasting praise as the “father of the string quartet.” And, they agree, the Tokyo String Quartet plays this music beautifully.
When 2nd violinist Kikuei Ikeda and violist Kazuhide Isomura recently announced their decision to retire, 1st violinist Martin Beaver and cellist Clive Greensmith had no shortage of fine applicants auditioning for those positions. After a great deal of thought, however, the members decided that the Tokyo String Quartet’s extraordinary 44-year history will officially come to an end in June of 2013.
Arnold Schoenberg (1874-1951)
Chamber Symphony No. 2 in E-flat Minor, Op. 38 (1908; 1939)
Alan Gilbert, conductor; Bart Feller, flute; Tara Helen O’Connor, flute/piccolo; Liang Wang, oboe; Kyle Mustain, oboe/English horn; Anthony McGill & Michael Rusinek, clarinets; Nancy Goeres & Theodore Soluri, bassoons; Philip Myers & Julie Landsman, horns; Charley Lea & David Dash, trumpets; Jennifer Gilbert, Daniel Phillips, Todd Phillips & Harvey de Souza, 1st violins; Kathleen Brauer, L. P. How, Ida Kavafian & Benny Kim, 2nd violins; Lily Francis, Hsin-Yun Huang & Steven Tenenbom, violas; Timothy Eddy, Eric Kim & Peter Wiley, cellos; Marji Danilow, bass
“For a month I have been working on the 2nd chamber symphony. I spend most of the time trying to find out “What was the author getting at here?” Indeed, my style had greatly deepened, and I find it hard to reconcile what I then rightly wrote, trusting my sense of form and not thinking too much, with my current extensive demands in respect of ‘visible’ logic. Today that is one of the major difficulties, for it also affects the material.”
– Arnold Schoenberg
We asked some Festival musicians what they would say to audiences who feel a bit of trepidation when it comes to the music of Arnold Schoenberg. Here are some tips from clarinetist Michael Rusinek, violist Hsin Yun Huang, flutist Tara Helen O’Connor, and violinist Ida Kavafian.
Schoenberg’s Second Chamber Symphony rarely gets performed, and many of the musicians in the Festival’s chamber orchestra had never played it before. In this clip, Michael Rusinek tells Kerry his impressions of the work.
Hsin Yun Huang tells Kerry that Schoenberg’s Chamber Symphony No. 2 in E-flat Minor sounds like Mahler. And she confesses, “I’m incredibly in love with it.”
Schoenberg started writing his second chamber symphony in 1908 but ended up putting it aside until 1939 when his friend, the conductor Fritz Stiedry, encouraged him to take another look. Kerry and Marc comment on Schoenberg’s experience of returning to an older work after his technique had so radically changed.