Beethoven’s late string quartets are the mighty pillar on which the ACO’s 2016 subscription season is built. These remarkably complex quartets are the undisputed pinnacle of chamber music-making, like a musical Everest. Even though they were composed in the depths of deafness, Beethoven was at the height of his creative power.
Schubert’s dying wish was to hear Beethoven’s C-sharp minor quartet, while Stravinsky called the Grosse Fuge “an absolutely contemporary piece of music that will be contemporary forever”. Whether hearing the originals or string orchestral arrangements to which the quartets are so ideally suited, music-lovers everywhere are mesmerised by these masterpieces.
Beethoven’s Room, wash on paper, 1827
But not even Beethoven was an island. His debt is to Bach and earlier masters like Handel and Vivaldi, while his own influence on later composers remains unquestioned. With favourite international guests joining the ACO once more, the 2016 season explores the entire canon of classical music, with Beethoven as the centrepiece. Finnish violinist Pekka Kuusisto returns in his new guise as Director of ACO Collective (formerly ACO2). Firebrand Italian, Giovanni Sollima throws his body as much as his cello on the line in a compelling mixture of old and new. Piano legend Elisabeth Leonskaja performs Mozart’s Jeunehomme concerto, ‘one of the greatest wonders of the world’. Superstars Julia Lezhneva and Slava Grigoryan join forces with our very own Richard Tognetti, delivering Baroque Brilliance and elegiac delights. And the first ever collaboration between Synergy Percussion and the ACO reveals astonishing new sonorities between percussion and strings.
From left: Ike See, Melissa Barnard, Julian Thompson. Image © Mick Bruzzese.
In among works by such composers as Kats-Chernin, Muhly, Tüür, Dessner, Newman, Constable and Kerry, Beethoven is not out of place. As if in defiance of conventional musical time-spans, Beethoven’s late quartets unleash the Romantic spirit, leaving the music free to follow its own path, ending only when it has fulfilled its own internal logic, the listener lost in its world of stillness and absolute beauty.
Be mesmerised. Unearth secrets, old and new. Conquer the musical heights of creative power. “Ever thine. Ever mine. Ever ours.”
#ACO16: 2016 National Concert Season
3+ CONCERT PACKAGES PRE-SALE: 19 November, 9am
SINGLE TICKETS PRE-SALE: 24 November, 9am
Richard Tognetti Artistic Director & Leader
Helena Rathbone Principal Violin
Satu Vänskä Principal Violin
Glenn Christensen Violin
Aiko Goto Violin
Mark Ingwersen Violin
Ilya Isakovich Violin
Liisa Pallandi Violin
Ike See Violin
Alexandru-Mihai Bota Viola
Nicole Divall Viola
Timo-Veikko Valve Principal Cello
Melissa Barnard Cello
Julian Thompson Cello
Maxime Bibeau Principal Double Bass
Zoë Black Violin
Caroline Henbest Viola
Daniel Yeadon Cello