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Danish String Quartet


Tuesday, November 19, 2019 8:00PM

Danish String Quartet

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Samueli Theater

Frederik Øland, violin
Rune Tonsgaard Sørensen, violin
Asbjørn Nørgaard, viola
Fredrik Schøyen Sjölin, cello

Laguna Chamber Music Series sponsored by Sam and Lyndie Ersan
Beethoven@250 sponsored by The Segerstrom Foundation


BACH (arr. Förster): Fugue No. 4 in C-sharp minor, BWV 849, from The Well-Tempered Clavier, Book I
BARTÓK: String Quartet No. 1 in A minor
BEETHOVEN: String Quartet No. 14 in C-sharp minor, Op. 131

"They bring a freshness and energy plus a level of sheer accomplishment that I don't ever remember hearing in these works." —Gramophone

Since making its debut in 2002 at the Copenhagen Festival, the Danish String Quartet has become one of the most sought-after quartets in the world, earning numerous accolades, including being named winner of the 11th London International String Quartet Competition and securing coveted appointments with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center’s highly regarded CMS Two program and with BBC Radio 3 as a New Generation Artist. The quartet was awarded the 2010 Nordmetall-Ensemble Prize at the Mecklenburg-Vorpommern Festival in Germany; the Carl Nielsen Prize, the highest cultural honor in Denmark, in 2011; and the 2016 Borletti-Buitoni Trust Award.

In 2018, the Danish String Quartet received its first Grammy Award nomination for its latest recording, PRISM I, the first in a series of five albums in which the quartet presents one of Beethoven's late string quartets in the context of a related fugue by Bach as well as a linked masterwork from the modern quartet literature. PRISM I comprises of the first of Beethoven's late quartets, his life-affirming Op. 127 in E-flat major, alongside Bach's luminous fugue in the same key (arr. Mozart) and Shostakovich's final string quartet, No. 15 in E-flat minor, a haunting sequence of six adagios.

For this much anticipated return appearance, the Danish String Quartet brings one of their PRISM programs, pairing Beethoven's Op. 131 quartet with Bach's C-sharp minor fugue No. 4 (on which Beethoven based his canonical fugue from his Op. 131 quartet), and finishing with Bartók's A minor quartet. Bartók is widely considered the first composer to rival Beethoven in the string quartet medium, and scholars agree that there are direct links from Beethoven’s fugue and counterpoint from Op. 131 to the huge, slow fugue in the first movement of Bartók. During the quartet, however, Bartók writes himself out of Beethoven’s shadow, immersing himself in a new and completely valid style of music.