2013 - 24th January Bartholdy String Quartet

Programme

Joseph Haydn
String Quartet Op. 20 no. 2 in C major

i) Moderato
ii) Adagio
iii) Minuet: Allegretto
iv) Fuga a quattro soggetti 

Felix Mendelssohn
String Quartet Op. 13 in A minor

i) Adagio - Allegro Vivace
ii) Adagio non lento
iii) Intermezzo: Allegretto con moto - Allegro di molto
iv) Presto - Adagio non lento

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Programme Notes

Joseph Haydn
String Quartet Op. 20 no. 2 in C major

Composed in 1772 at 40 years old, Haydn’s six string quartets from Opus 20 are among the great string quartets that earned Haydn the nickname ‘the father of the string quartet’. During this time the European philosophical and political ideas were shifting and undoubtedly influenced Haydn in his musical ideas and affected the emotions and ideas of the quartets.

The Opus 20 quartets highlight Haydn’s innovations of the string quartet. These included the equality of voices; the structure of each movement; depth of expressions; phrase lengths; and the use of counterpoint. In this quartet, Haydn specifically develops an equal interaction between all four instruments. The first movement opens with a cello solo, playing above accompanying instruments, gradually passing it onto the other instruments to play the solo line. The Adagio again begins with the cello stating the theme for what is a very emotionally charged movement with wide dynamic contrasts and complicated rhythmic accompaniment passages. The Minuet commences with a sense of rhythmic instability as all the instruments are tied across the bar line so there is no sense of a downbeat. A chromatic second section is built on the first violin’s descending chromatic scale. The Finale, Fuga a 4 soggetti, is a fugue with four subjects. The opening exposition subject statement is marked sempre sotte voce, where the first violin is followed by the viola, second violin, then cello. This movement demonstrates Haydn’s contrapuntal developments in the string quartet, with the texture gradually thinning, resulting in two voices playing at once, then suddenly bursting into forte with flowing sixteenth notes which lead to the close of the quartet.


Felix Mendelssohn
String Quartet Op. 13 in A minor

The Opus 13 quartet is the first string quartet 18-year-old Mendelssohn wrote. It is strongly influenced by the master of the string quartet Ludwig van Beethoven and contains classical composition technique such as fugues and counterpoint however it also has an amazing emotional drive and the melodic material makes it highly romantic. Some might say it is the perfect bridge between the two eras.

The quartet opens and concludes with a quote from a song which Mendelsohn himself had written earlier: a love song  entitled ‘Is it true?’, which one can´t help but connect with the musical question posed by Beethoven´s Opus 135, ‘Must it be?’.  Thematic material from that motto is to be found in all movements of the quartet. The melodic and rich Adagio opening in A major suddenly changes into an expressive yet agitated Allegro in A minor. The second movement opens and concludes with a quote of the motto of the song, this time in F major. With its serenity it takes the form of a fragile fugue, which through a rising agitation leads to a dramatic climax before returning to the opening motif. The Intermezzo gives a slight dramatic relief before the great finale where all the thematic material from earlier is used and the whole emotional range is used to conclude the masterpiece.

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Profile

Tessa Ho, Violin
Lauren Forder, Violin
Ricardo Gaspar, Viola
Guðný Jónasdóttir, Violoncello

Formed in 2012 at the Royal Academy of Music, The Bartholdy Quartet has set itself apart from the established quartets on the London scene. They have recently been chosen for the prestigious Davey Poznanski Quartet Scheme at the Royal Academy of Music and have an ambitious inaugural concert season planned. Its members represent a global cross section of laureates from national and international music competitions and have performed with orchestras across the globe. Quartet members hail from Australia, Canada, Portugal, and Iceland. This multi-national mix brings an exciting and electrifying edge to the quartet’s repertoire. Classics are revived with a fresh perspective whilst the innovative programming is as varied as the group itself.

Tessa Ho, 24, has been the recipient of many awards and scholarships, most notably being named the Victorian 3MBS FM Young Performer of the Year, and the Australian National MBS FM Young Performer of the Year. She was also awarded the University of Melbourne Graduate Scholarships, the Joyce McKenna Scholarship and the Sir William McKie Travelling Scholarship. Tessa has performed as soloist with the University of Melbourne Chamber Orchestra, Preston Symphony Orchestra and the Queensland Youth Symphony Orchestra. Currently completing a Master’s degree at the Royal Academy of Music, she is supported by the ABRSM as the International Postgraduate Scholar. Tessa plays on a 1774 Jacobus Phillipus Cordanus Violin from Genoa, Italy.

Lauren Forder, 23, began studying the violin at the age of four in Canada. She completed her Bachelor of Music Degree in Violin Performance from McGill University. She is currently completing her Master’s degree at the Royal Academy of Music learning with Maureen Smith.  As a recitalist, Lauren has performed in Montreal, Toronto, and throughout Europe.   She plays on a fine 1940 Leandro Bisiach Violin from Milan, Italy.

Ricardo Gaspar, 21, is Portugal’s 2012 Young Soloist of the Year.  He has performed as soloist with the Gulbenkian Orchestra, the Lisbon Youth Orchestra.  He has played with the European Union Youth Orchestra and Portuguese Symphony Orchestra.  Ricardo is currently completing a Master’s degree at the Royal Academy of Music and is supported by the Gulbenkian Foundation and Santander.  He plays on a 2009 Benjamin Paule Viola from Orleans, France.

Gudny Jonasdottir, 26, is sought after as an orchestral cellist in her home country of Iceland as well as on the continent.  She has performed regularly with the Icelandic Symphony Orchestra and Lübeck Philharmoniker.  She has performed as soloist with the Icelandic Symphony.  Gudny is currently completing her Master’s degree in cello performance at the Royal Academy of Music.  She is supported by the Sylvia Simpson Award, Zara Nelsova Scholarship and The Worswick Scholarship.  She plays on a 19th century unlabeled Cello from Germany.

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