Aaron Boyd, violin
Che-Yen Chen, viola
Jesse Mills, violin
Edward Arron, cello
Paganini String Quartet in E Major
Janáček String Quartet No. 1 “Kreutzer Sonata”
Beethoven String Quartet in C Major, Opus 59, No. 3 “Razumovsky”
Notes on the program:
Composer and violinist Niccolo Paganini wrote his String Quartet in E major (originally scored for guitar and strings) sometime between 1815 and 1817, about the same time that he wrote his famous Caprices for Solo Violin. As a violinist, Paganini developed violin technique to a level of virtuosity that has been attained by very few players, even today. Paganini himself enjoyed performing this work, as it showcases the first violin in a very soloistic manner
Leos Janacek’s String Quartet No. 1 , the ”Kreutzer Sonata”, written in 1923, was inspired by Tolstoy’s novella of the same name, which was in turn inspired by Beethoven’s Violin Sonata No. 9, known as the “Kreutzer Sonata” because it was dedicated to a patron by the name of Rodolphe Kreutzer. Janacek was moved by Tolstoy’s story of a poor, tormented woman and this piece depicts a psychological drama with moments of emotional outburst, passion, and finally catharsis.
Beethoven wrote this String Quartet in C Major in 1806, which is considered his “middle period.” Some of his greatest works come from this period, including the “Eroica” Symphony, the Symphony No. 5, and the “Emperor” Concerto. This quartet was commissioned by the Russian Ambassador in Vienna at the time, Count Andreas Razumovsky. Beethoven offers a tribute to the Count by adding a “Russian” theme in the final movement.