Marmen Quartet - Programme

Programme suggestions 2021 | 2022

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791) String quartet in E flat major K. 428
Salvatore Sciarrino (*1947) “Sei Quartetti Brevi”
Franz Schubert (1797-1828) String quartet in G major op. 161 D 887

The familiarity of Mozart combined with the strangeness of Sciarrino explores how seeming opposites can coexist side by side. This paves the way for Schubert’s monumental G major quartet, the ultimate search for reconciliation between love and pain, life and death, major and minor. At the end of the journey lies a hidden truth; polar opposites can’t exist without one another; they define each other in a beautiful state of symbiosis.

“Hungary three ways”  
Joseph Haydn (1732-1809) String quartet in B flat major op. 64 no. 3 Hob.III:67
György Ligeti (1923-2006) String quartet no. 1 “Metamorphoses nocturnes” 1953/54
Johannes Brahms (1833-1897) String quartet in c minor op. 51 no. 1

Leaving: Hungary had a profound influence on Haydn during his many years working at the court of Esterhazy, but by the time of his Opus 64 he was preparing to leave for London. The large halls and bigger audiences of the English capital were on his mind when composing this famous set of string quartets.

Drawn to: Brahms had grown up in Germany but always gravitated towards Hungarian music - two of his most important musical partners were Hungarian violinists - and eventually he moved to Vienna, closing the geographical gap to this alluring culture. The style hongrois permeates Brahms’s chamber music, explicitly like in his Hungarian Dances, or masterfully integrated like in his string quartets.

Trapped: Ligeti was born in Transylvania, where Bartok had collected many of his folk melodies, and found himself stuck in Hungary in the aftermath of WWII, trying to compose under the restrictions of the iron curtain. Although his first quartet is a masterpiece and a “personal work” as described by himself, its writing was relatively conservative at a time when composers in the West were pushing boundaries of the avant-garde.