String Quartets I
String Quartet No. 2
String Quartet No. 6 in F minor
String Quartet No. 6
Béla Bartók’s compository development can be followed particularly well in his six string quartets: while his First String Quartet from 1908 focuses on the late Romantic chromaticism of the post-Wagner era and Debussy’s sound world, his interest in Hungarian folk music becomes apparent nine years later in the Second Quartet. The Third, Fourth and Fifth Quartet are then evidence of an entirely individualised sound language and show Bartók at the height of his harmonic and formal mastery. The Sixth String Quartet from 1939, however, seems to hint at a resigned farewell by the composer, who died six years later in the USA. In a cycle of three concerts, Musikfest Berlin 2013 puts all of Bartók’s six string quartets up for discussion – and all are interpreted by world-class ensembles.
Kicking off the cycle is the Emerson String Quartet, an over 35-year-old internationally renowned American string quartet formation. Known for their artfully arranged, varied and at the same time luminous concert programmes, the four musicians contrast Bartók’s folksy Second and the classically oriented Sixth String Quartet in this concert with Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy’s dramatically rebellious String Quartet in F minor op. 80 from 1847.