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String Quartet No. 2 in G Major, Op. 18, No. 2
String Quartet No. 11 in F Minor, Op. 95 “Serioso”
String Quartet No. 13 in B-flat Major, Op. 130 with Finale
When the world renowned Takács Quartet completed their recording project of all sixteen Beethoven string quartets in 2006, Alex Ross of The New Yorker wrote, “this survey stands as the most richly expressive modern account of this titanic cycle.” And indeed, their interpretations have stood as the gold standard for Beethoven, from the whimsical and strident early Op. 18 quartets to the cryptic and monumental Grosse Fuge. This concert season, the Takács have chosen Princeton as one of three venues in the United States where they will perform the entire cycle, across six concerts in our Richardson Auditorium, for the last time together.
In a brief thirty-year career, Ludwig van Beethoven journeyed further— expressively, conceptually, and psychologically—than any other composer before or since. His artistic odyssey is considered one of the supreme accomplishments in human history, compared to the building of cathedrals or the rise of democracy. The concept of absolute music—music for its own sake, not “about” anything, or in service of the church—crystallized in his wake. And while his nine symphonies arguably contained many of the grandest and most boundary-breaking moments in his catalogue, the sixteen quartets are where he explored within and made his most personal statements. Collectively, the cycle reads like a blueprint for his artistic development.
Over these six performances with the Takács Quartet, we are treated to the ultimate thrill of seeing this blueprint, even more relevant in 2016 than on the day of Beethoven’s death in 1827, unfold before our eyes. Join us for all or as many as you can and be a part of history in the music-making right here on Nassau Street.
The special nature of these concerts has inspired us to offer a number of activities that will allow you to deepen your engagement with these incredible works. Here are two you should know about being offered in this week of concerts:
1. Princeton Adult School Class: "Exploring the Beethoven String Quartets" will be taught by Scott Burnham and Edward Dusinberre, first violinist of the Takács String Quartet. This is a 3-part class, taking place on November 16; January 17 and March 14. Classes can be bought as a series, or individually. For more information, visit the Princeton Adult School website.
2. Mindfulness & Music: Join us on November 16 at 12:30pm for a Live Music Meditation with Matthew Weiner, Associate Dean of the Office of Religious Life, and the Takács String Quartet. Come for a half-hour guided meditation, followed by group conversation with the musicians about the experience of listening to music mindfully. No prior experience necessary. READ MORE HERE>
For a complete schedule of the the Beethoven Cycle concerts and activities, click here.
- Professor Scott Burnham on the Beethoven String Quartets
“Beethoven’s 16 string quartets were written over a 27-year span of his life, and they range from the wide-eyed energy and variety of his first six quartets to the enigmatic and existential worlds of his final five quartets. It is impossible to think of a more compelling window onto Beethoven, onto the genre of the string quartet, or even onto the entire multifarious pageant of chamber music in the modern West.”
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