Minetti Quartett: How do you do?
Masterpieces by Haydn, Schumann and Kurtág
The Minetti Quartet open this evening’s concert with a very deliberate choice: the Haydn string quartet commonly known by its nickname, “How do you do?” They ask this question in all sincerity, and then lead the MuTh audience on an exploration of the musical wit of the “father of the string quartet”. At the end of this journey back in time, there can only be one answer to his polite enquiry: “Very well, thank you!”
Somewhat bizarrely, Haydn places this question at the very beginning of the piece. Not only that, he presents it with the finality of a work’s closing notes! So it’s no surprise that thereafter anything seems possible: an operatic cavatina in the slow movement, a dizzying scherzo instead of the usual minuet, and an Italian folk dance in the finale.
It was over 200 years later that Kurtág wrote one of the most important string quartets of his day. No longer structured in four movements, this quartet contained fifteen, all of them linked as part of a whole. The brevity of the movements, the miniscule gestures and transitions pay homage to Anton Weber.
Another composer who paid his respects to his musical forebears was Robert Schumann. His three Op. 41 quartets, which were to remain his only compositions in this form, were only composed after an intensive study of the classics. His A major quartet fulfilled all the lofty ambitions he set himself: “Strive to achieve beautiful form and purity of phrasing, to create interrelationships, and to lend the melodic development an original character”. The temperament of this milestone in the string quartet literature is defined by Eusebius and Florestan, the personifications of melancholy and zest for life that were invented by Schumann and permeate his musical language.
Joseph Haydn: String Quartet in G major, Op. 33 no. 5
György Kurtág: Officium breve Op. 28, in memoriam Andreae Szervánszky (1988/89)
Robert Schumann: String Quartet in A major, Op. 41 No. 3
Tickets: Band A €39/ B €35/ C €29; box seats €49; MuTh Club Students, children and young people: A €20 / B €15 / C €9
Team and cast
- Violin: Maria Ehmer
- Violin: Anna Knopp
- Viola: Milan Milojicic
- Celloa: Leonhard Roczek