Béla Bartók: String Quartet No.2
Béla Bartók: String Quartet No.4
Béla Bartók: String Quartet No.6
Southbank Centre Associate Artists the Takács Quartet is recognised as one of the world's great string quartets, its performances described by The Guardian as 'chamber-music playing of overwhelming intensity, insight and intelligence'. This is the second of two concerts during which the Quartet performs Bartók's complete string quartets in the 2011/12 season.
Bartók's String Quartet No.2 takes Debussy's interest in mood and folk melody to a more penetrating level, imbuing it with a new kind of force. The work alternates between singing melodies, barbaric rhythms and moments of expressionist outpouring.
Throughout Bartók's Fourth String Quartet the performers are required to use many kinds of inventive techniques. For the whole of the second movement all four instruments play with mutes, and the fourth movement is entirely pizzicato. The finale is a virtuoso display of rhythmic vitality, providing the perfect template for showcasing the Takács Quartet's skill.
The concert concludes with Bartók's String Quartet No.6, the ending of which took a new direction after the composer learnt of the death of his mother. Bartok rewrote the last movement as an elegy to her.