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Sacconi String Quartet with Philip Dukes (viola)

13 May 2023

Caroline Shaw: Entr’acte
Haydn: Quartet Op 64 No 2 in B minor
Jessie Montgomery: Strum
Mozart: Viola Quintet in G minor

As has become customary, we are delighted to begin our 2023 Season with a concert given by the Sacconi String Quartet together with their guest violist Philip Dukes. We open with ‘Entr’acte’ by the well-known contemporary American composer, Caroline Shaw. This piece was inspired by the minuet from Haydn’s last completed quartet and appropriately, is followed by a quartet by Haydn himself, one of the six Op. 64 works, written in the early 1790s at the very end of his long employment by Prince Esterhazy. At this time, Haydn was eagerly anticipating future freedoms, and it is likely that the first performance of these quartets was given in London during his first visit there. The first half concludes with ‘Strum’, by another contemporary American composer and violinist, Jessie Montgomery.

In 1784 Haydn and Mozart met for the first time, playing string quartets at Mozart’s house in Vienna. Their mutual admiration bore much musical fruit, particularly in their chamber music. Mozart liked to play the viola part in his quartets, placing him in the middle of the harmony and his string quintets add an extra viola, adding richness to the middle of the texture. The G minor Quintet which finishes the concert is perhaps the greatest of them; a deeply confessional masterpiece written in G minor, a key used by Mozart to express passionate melancholy.

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