String Quartet in D major op. 64 No. 5 The Lark
String Quartet in E minor
String Quartet in F major
Homogeneous sound and perfect integration – these are hallmarks of the Philharmonia Quartet. The four musicians – Daniel Stabrawa and Christian Stadelmann (violins), Neithard Resa (viola) and Dietmar Schwalke (cello) – are all members of the Berliner Philharmoniker, and thus a seasoned team in more than just the realm of chamber music. The Philharmonia Quartet’s programmes follow an unusual formula: repertoire classics are likely to be juxtaposed with seldom-performed works. In this concert as well. Joseph Haydn is one of, if not the, creator of the “classical” string quartet. His works pointed the way for subsequent generations of composers. Haydn composed the series of string quartets op. 64 in 1790, shortly before his first trip to England. The fifth quartet, in D major, later dubbed the “Lark” for the first movement’s jubilant, soaring violin theme, features a captivating combination of brilliant contrapuntal writing and playful weightlessness. Giuseppe Verdi’s only string quartet was something of an accident, a compositional diversion to pass the time waiting for a delayed rehearsal. Dating from 1873, Verdi created a work of homage to the Viennese Classics, especially to the string quartets of Haydn. A great composer also served as godfather to Maurice Ravel’s F major Quartet: Claude Debussy. Although reminiscences of his model are impossible to miss, the 27-year-old Ravel’s work already possesses characteristics of his own distinctive style.