– Australian String Quartet National Tour Beginnings –
The ASQ’s final tour of 2017 pays homage to disrupters from three musical eras.
On the back of its acclaimed tour through Northern America and Canada, and two sold-out performances with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, the Australian String Quartet (ASQ) embark on their final Australian tour for 2017, performing a thrilling program of Beethoven, Bartók and Scarlatti – each composer instrumental in changing the course of music forever.
At the beginning of the 19th Century, Ludwig van Beethoven embarked upon a musical journey which would pave the way for a new artistic movement. Unlike the more conventional nature of his earlier classical works, the composer’s middle period bursts with emotion, drama and virtuosity. Through this period, Beethoven carries the baton into the Romantic period of art and expression.
The ASQ will perform the first of Beethoven’s Razumovsky Quartets of this era. Written shortly after his famous Eroica Symphony, the listener is drawn deep into this quartet’s varied moods – the pastoral nature of the first movement, the boisterousness of the second, the anguish of the third and the cheerfulness of the finale.
Two simple words scrawled upon what remains of Alessandro Scarlatti’s original manuscript for his Sonata à quattro no 4 literally changed chamber music forever – Senza cembalo (‘without harpsichord’) gave birth to a brand new ensemble: the string quartet. This work, written specifically for four voices without harpsichord, is now able to be performed in spaces in which no such large instrument is present, allowing chamber music to be played anywhere, making it more accessible, to more people, more often. Scarlatti’s work was conceived at the height of the eloquent Baroque period. Shimmering with elegance, the piece is filled with weaving countermelodies, searing chromatic harmonies and fascinating conversations between the instruments.
“It means a lot for us to perform Alessandro Scarlatti’s piece. After all, had those immortal two words never featured on the score, the quartet may have evolved into a different beast.” says ASQ’s violist, Stephen King.
More than 200 years after Scarlatti’s founding, the string quartet continues to thrive. In the early twentieth century Béla Bartók uses this ensemble to preserve a rich east European folk music in danger of extinction, writing and recording as much of the music as possible. He becomes known as late Romanticism’s ‘young radical’; his music speaking to new, younger and more curious audiences. The ASQ opens the door to Bartók’s laboratory letting audiences in on Bartók’s lush world of folk-infused late Romanticism.
ASQ cellist, Sharon Grigoryan says, “Bartók’s passion, energy and fearlessness is inspiring. His emotion is raw and his optimism infectious. As important as refining the piece’s technical demands for us, is capturing its spirit. This is what we will bring to audiences on this tour.”
2017 has been a stellar year for the Australian String Quartet. The musical pioneers featured in this program provide a taste of what audiences can expect from the ensemble in 2018. With new ground-breaking programs and projects in planning, it’s exciting times for music lovers.
For further media information – Angelina Zucco, Chief Executive, 1800 040 444 [email protected]
Emma CollisonM: 0418 584 795
Australian String Quartet, Chief Executive, Australian String Quartet
With a rich history spanning over 30 years, the Australian String Quartet (ASQ) has a strong national profile as an Australian chamber music group of excellence, performing at the highest international level. From its home base at the University of Adelaide, Elder Conservatorium of Music, the ASQ delivers a vibrant annual artistic program encompassing performances, workshops, commissions and education projects across Australia and abroad.
P: +61 8 8313 4775
M: 0402 642 121