Passion, precision and warmth are the secret of the Jerusalem Quartet’s success, “The Times” wrote. The ensemble, founded in 1993, named after the city in which its members got enduring musical impressions during their studies, is now among the string quartets enhancing the international concert scene. They will give their debut in the framework of the concerts of the Berliner Philharmoniker Foundation.
String Quartet in G minor op. 74 No. 3 Hob. III:74 Rider
String Quartet No. 2 Intimate Letters
String Quartet No. 1 in E minor From My Life
After almost two decades it is impossible to imagine international concert life without the Jerusalem Quartet. For their concert in the Chamber Music Hall of the Berlin Philharmonie, they have programmed music by Czech composers that manifests biographical characteristics. Intimate Letters is the title Leoš Janáček gave his String Quartet No. 2, written in 1928. In this work composed shortly before his death, Janáček dealt with his unrequited love to a married woman almost 40 years younger. He revealed to her in a letter: “You stand behind every note, you, living, forceful, loving.” The composer was not, however, interested in a musical “sell-out” of his yearnings: “[I don’t] deliver up my feelings to the discretion of stupid people.” Janáček’s musical letters to his secret lover are, as the title of the work unequivocally proves, of a private nature.
Half a century earlier, Janáček’s compatriot Bedřich Smetana entitled his First String Quartet From My Life – and in this work he came to terms with completely different problems. Two years had passed since the composer went completely deaf. The thoughts of suicide that Smetana had been harbouring since 1875 inscribed themselves in his music, as did the tinnitus that tormented the composer before he completely lost his hearing. And Joseph Haydn? His String Quartet op. 74 No. 3 attests to the career of an adaptable composer between the poles of late absolutist and bourgeois music culture who never, however, betrays himself.