Saturday 2nd May 2015

The Wu Quartet


Mozart. String Quartet in B flat K.589

Mozart composed this quartet in the spring of 1790, when he was deeply in debt and just a year before he died.The set has acquired the nickname 'Prussian' as they were dedicated to the King of Prussia, who was himself an amateur cellist. Six quartets were planned, but only three were completed and because of his parlous financial state, Mozart was compelled to sell them for some urgently needed cash. As one would expect, the cello part is full of activity and interest but not at the expense of the other instruments. Despite these tribulations, the work is full of energy and inventiveness and the Minuet and Trio are not the usual relaxing link with the outer movements.There are great sweeps for the violin which help to build the last movement's exciting almost Haydn - style climax.

Beethoven. String Quartet in F minor Op.95 'Serioso'.

Composed after the three Razumovsky quartets and before his last great works in this genre, this quartet stands alone. In some ways Beethoven is developing and experimenting with ideas he will return to later. Apart from its shorter length an interesting feature of this quartet is the use of a fugue in the third movement, which by then, had largely gone out of fashion.. Its forceful opening has been likened to 'a bull in a china shop' and the work is certainly full of power and invention and at times seems almost symphonic in form.

Schubert. String Quartet No.13 in A minor D.804 'Rosamunde'

Schubert completed this well loved work in 1824 and dedicated it to Ignaz Schuppanzigh, the Viennese violinist whose quartet premiered many of Beethoven's works. They gave its first performance in the March of that year. Like the Beethoven work that precedes it in this concert, this quartet is as far removed from Schubert's works such as the Death and the Maiden Quartet and his Ninth Symphony. He was very ill at the time and began to have a real sense of his own mortality. Here is a deeply felt work from a troubled soul.

Wu quartet 1

    Wu Quartet