Brentano String Quartet
Mark Steinberg, violin
Serena Canin, violin
Misha Amory, viola
Nina Lee, cello

Sunday, March 8, 2015 at 3pm
St. Francis Auditorium, New Mexico Museum of Art

Santa Fe, NM — Santa Fe Pro Musica presents the internationally acclaimed Brentano String Quartet in concert at the St. Francis Auditorium (New Mexico Museum of Art) performing works of Haydn, MacMillian and Schubert. Newly appointed Quartet-in-Residence at the Yale School of Music, this quartet takes its name from Beethoven’s “Immortal Beloved.”

“The Brentano String Quartet is something special…Their music-making is private, delicate and fresh, but by its very intimacy and importance it seizes attention.”
The New York Times


Brentano String Quartet
Mark Steinberg, violin
Serena Canin, violin
Misha Amory, viola
Nina Lee, cello

Sunday, March 8 at 3pm

St. Francis Auditorium, New Mexico Museum of Art
107 West Palace Avenue
Santa Fe, NM 87501

TICKETS: $20, $35, $45, $65 at the Santa Fe Pro Musica Box Office (505) 988-4640, Tickets Santa Fe at The Lensic (505) 988-1234, or online at www.santafepromusica.com

Discounts for students, teachers, groups, and families are available exclusively through the Santa Fe Pro Musica Box Office.

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Haydn String Quartet in B-Flat Major, Op. 50, No. 1
MacMillan String Quartet No. 3 (2007)
Schubert String Quartet No. 14 in D Minor, D. 810 “Death and the Maiden”

Notes by Carol Redman

Franz Joseph Haydn (1732-1809)
String Quartet in B-Flat Major, Op. 50, No. 1

The string quartet was one of Haydn’s favorite forms, and his work in this field evolved throughout his long career, resulting in almost 70 quartets.  In 1781, Haydn completed his Opus 33 set of six string quartets, the same year that Mozart moved to Vienna. While in Vienna, Haydn and Mozart became friends and played string quartets together in Mozart’s apartment, with Mozart playing the viola and Haydn playing violin.

An interesting interchange reflects the mutual influence and respect of these two Viennese masters. Inspired by Haydn’s Op. 33 quartets, Mozart composed a set of six quartets in 1785 and dedicated them to Haydn (“Receive them kindly, with the partiality of a father’s eye”); Haydn then returned the favor. Inspired by Mozart’s latest quartets written during 1785-86, Haydn wrote another set of quartets, his Opus 50 (1787). Ultimately however, Haydn dedicated this set to King Frederick William II of Prussia (1744-1797), an amateur cellist and an enthusiastic patron of the arts who was able to pay for them.

James MacMillan (b. 1959)
String Quartet No. 3

Born, raised and educated in Scotland, MacMillan is the pre-eminent Scottish composer of his generation. He has received commissions from leading opera companies, orchestras, and soloists, including the great cellist Rostropovich, the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, Scottish Parliament, BBC Philharmonic, Netherlands Radio Orchestra, Westminster Cathedral, the Welsh National Opera, and others. When the Scottish Parliament was reconvened in 1999 (after 292 years of submission to the Parliament of Great Britten), MacMillan composed the fanfare to accompany the Queen into the chamber. In 2010 he wrote a new mass to be sung during the visit of Pope Benedict XVI to Great Britain. MacMillan’s Roman Catholic faith has inspired many of his works. Scottish traditional music also has a profound influence on his music. And he often uses familiar themes, even subliminally, which makes his music not only accessible but also hauntingly familiar.

Macmillan speaks of the melodic quality of his third string quartet, especially in the lyrical first movement. The second movement is a dark maelstrom of ominous figures, and one of MacMillan’s most fascinatingly strange creations. Lyricism returns in the final movement, which is the most conservative and reassuringly familiar of the three. “MacMillan’s String Quartet No. 3 operates at the boundary between the physical and the ethereal, between sounds and silence” (San Francisco Chronicle).

Franz Schubert (1797-1828)
String Quartet No. 14 in D Minor, D. 810 “Death and the Maiden”

Schubert began composing string quartets when he was thirteen, initially to play with his family. His two brothers were violinists, his father played the cello, and Schubert took the viola part. Over the course of his short life, he composed 15 string quartets. In Schubert’s early quartets, it is primarily the first violin that carries the melody with the other instruments playing supporting roles. In his later quartets, the part writing is more adventuresome, each instrument bringing its own character and presence to the music and creating a conversation among equals. The later quartets, were written neither as commissions, nor for home audiences, but as intimately personal expressions.  “The string quartet had become a vehicle for conveying to the world his inner struggles” (Walter Cobbett, Cobbett’s Cyclopedic Survey of Chamber Music, 1963).

Schubert’s String Quartet No. 14 “Death and the Maiden” is one of the pillars of the chamber music repertoire. It was composed in 1824 after Schubert suffered through a serious illness and realized that he might be dying.  The quartet is named for a theme used in the second movement, but the essence of the theme is apparent in all four movements. Schubert borrowed this theme from a song he wrote in 1817, taking his text from a poem by Matthias Claudius (1740-1815), and transforming it into a death knell about the terror and comfort of death. Throughout the quartet, Schubert evokes Death in all its various guises, from harsh to gentle. Furthermore, he chooses the key of D minor, a key that he generally reserved for songs of death, penitence, shadowy dreams, and shrouded moonlight. The quartet was first played in 1826 in a private home and was not published until 1831, three years after Schubert’s death.

The poem recounts an old myth wherein Death demands a pre-nuptial night with a bride-to-be. If she declines, Death will take her betrothed on their wedding day.

The Maiden
Oh! Leave me! Please leave me!
You grisly man of bone!
Go! Leave me alone.
Leave me alone!

Give me your hand, fair and tender maiden,
For I am a friend, and do not punish.
Take courage now, and very soon,
You shall sleep gently in my arms.

Watch and Listen:

About the Brentano String Quartet

Since its inception in 1992, the Brentano String Quartet has appeared throughout the world to popular and critical acclaim. “Passionate, uninhibited and spellbinding,” raves the London Independent; the New York Times extols its “luxuriously warm sound [and] yearning lyricism”; the Philadelphia Inquirer praises its “seemingly infallible instincts for finding the center of gravity in every phrase and musical gesture”; and the Times (London) opines, “the Brentanos are a magnificent string quartet…This was wonderful, selfless music-making.” Within a few years of its formation, the Quartet garnered the first Cleveland Quartet Award and the Naumburg Chamber Music Award; and in 1996 the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center invited them to be the inaugural members of Chamber Music Society Two, a program which was to become a coveted distinction for chamber groups and individuals.

The Quartet is named for Antonie Brentano, whom many scholars consider to be Beethoven’s “Immortal Beloved”, the intended recipient of his famous love confession.

Read more at brentanoquartet.com

About Santa Fe Pro Musica


Santa Fe Pro Musica, founded in 1980, is a non-profit performing arts organization dedicated to inspiring and educating audiences of all ages through the performance of great music. Pro Musica performs a varied repertoire, covering four centuries of music on modern and baroque instruments, including works for chamber orchestra, small ensemble and large-scale works for orchestra and chorus. In 2008, Pro Musica’s recording of Gustav Mahler’s Das Lied von der Erde (chamber arrangement by Schoenberg) was nominated for a GRAMMY® award in the classical category of Best Small Ensemble Performance. In August of 2012, Santa Fe Pro Musica Recordings produced a CD of Conrad Tao, pianist, performing Mozart Piano Concertos No. 17 and No. 25. In addition to gaining national recognition over its 32 years for its artistry in performance, Santa Fe Pro Musica offers some of the most distinguished educational opportunities in northern New Mexico, reaching thousands of students every year with a Youth Concert series, a team-building, ensemble-training program, and a master class series for New Mexico School for the Arts students.

The 2014-2015 Season is partially funded by the City of Santa Fe Arts Commission, the 1% Lodgers Tax, and New Mexico Arts (a Division of the Department of Cultural Affairs).

For more information, please visit our website: www.santafepromusica.com

© Santa Fe Pro Musica 2015


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