Tuesday 18 October 2011


Takacs Quartet

Associate Artists at Southbank Centre / International Chamber Music ...

Béla Bartók: String Quartet No.1
Béla Bartók: String Quartet No.3
Béla Bartók: String Quartet No.5

Bartók's masterful quartets - looked upon as worthy successors to the quartets of Beethoven - have been a staple of the Takács Quartet's repertory for decades. With a shared Hungarian heritage, the ensemble has a close affinity to his music. This is the first of two concerts during which the quartet perform all six of the composer's string quartets.

Bartók's String Quartet No.1 develops gradually in mood and speed throughout its three movements. Starting with the slow, densely contrapuntal fugue of the first movement, tinged with an air of mournful longing, the work travels without pause to the upbeat finale of the third movement, which displays an early example of the influence of Hungarian folk on Bartók's mature style.

Despite being written as one relatively short, continuous movement, Bartók's Third Quartet is densely packed with harmonically adventurous ideas, fluctuating tempi and innovative effects.

The Fifth String Quartet is equally varied in mood and tempo. Its two slow movements are startling examples of the composer's 'night music' style, including eerie effects, ghostly melodies and imitations of natural sounds.

'Four very distinct personalities... fused into the world's greatest string quartet'. (The Times)