Thanks to the amazing Alauda Quartet for a fantastic concert last week.
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756 – 1791)
Quartet No17 in B-flat major k458 “The Hunt”
(i) Allegro vivace assai
(ii) Menuetto and Trio; Moderato
(iv) Allegro assai
This is the fourth in a group of six quartets, composed in 1784 when
Mozart was 28, which he dedicated to Joseph Haydn, the master of
the string quartet and the composer, more than any other who brought
the form to prominence. Mozart was obviously out to impress the old man.
The title The Hunt was not Mozart’s idea but acquired the nickname
shortly after it’s appearance – presumably because of it’s first movement
6/8 rhythm featuring strong upbeats between tonic and dominant chords
reminiscent of the physical limitations of the hunting horns of the period.
Dmitri Shostakovich (1906 – 1975)
Quartet No 8 in C minor Op 110
(i) Largo (ii) Allegro molto (iii) Allegretto
(iv) Largo (v) Largo
Shostakovich wrote this quartet in the space of three days in July 1960
after two traumatic events in his life – the first was the early symptoms
of a debilitating muscular disease which would eventually lead to his
death – and the second his immense struggle with the communist party.
It is dedicated to The Victims of Fascism and War a title which his
daughter thinks was imposed upon him by the Russian authorities and
others think was a self dedication. Certainly the whole work prominently
features the DSCH motif – Shostakovich’s musical signature – which also
features in his Cello Concerto, 10th Symphony and many other works and
it also contains quotations from his other compositions from 1st & 5th
symphonies to his opera Lady Macbeth.