Antje Weithaas Violin, Daniel Sepec Violin, Tabea Zimmermann Viola, Jean-Guihen Queyras Cello
3 Fugues from The Art of the Fugue BWV 1080
String Quartet No. 1 in A minor op. 41 No. 1
String Quartet No. 7 in F major op. 59 No. 1 Rasumovsky No. 1
The members of the Arcanto Quartet are all highly successful and very busy soloists. Nevertheless, Antje Weithaas, Daniel Sepec, Tabea Zimmermann and Jean-Guihen Queyras decided in 2002 to join forces in a string quartet. Their first public performance followed two years later, and from then on the ensemble took the major international concert halls by storm with their mellifluous and expressive style of making music. This Arcanto Quartet concert is dedicated to the art of counterpoint. With his Art of the Fugue Johann Sebastian Bach left behind a musical work in which he demonstrates all types of contrapuntal composition, starting with the simple canon and going all the way to the complicated mirror fugue. Notated as a score but without indications of which instruments are to play, it is up to the musicians to bring to life Bach’s compositions on a keyboard instrument or with an instrumental ensemble, e.g. a string quartet. In Robert Schumann’s day the contrapuntal style had long gone out of fashion. Nonetheless, the composer worked intensely on this old technique in 1842. It is no accident that, despite all its romantic feeling, his string quartet in A minor written in that year is characterised by a polyphonic structure. A progression of voices in the form of a fugue also characterises Ludwig van Beethoven’s String Quartet op. 59 No. 1, dedicated to the Russian count Razumovsky. Today the work is considered a milestone among Beethoven’s quartets because of the special way it handles themes. His contemporaries, however, were baffled by the work.