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Music

Sunday, June 29, 2008

String Quartet-

Venice Quartet

With Andrea Vio (violin), Alberto Battiston (violin), Luca Morassutti (viola) and Angelo Zanin (cello)

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Venice Quartet

Quartetto di Venezia

 

On the occasion of its 25th Anniversary, the “Quartetto di Venezia” received an official recognition from the President of the Republic of Italy, Giorgio Napolitano.

 

Bruno Giuranna bears witness to their vocation at the most arduous apexes of chamber performances: “This is a group that stands out in the varied and vast European musical field. The perfect technical mastery and the power of their performances, characterized by the push towards an absolute value of themselves as true performers, place the “Quartetto di Venezia” at the top of their category and among the very few worthy of taking over the role of the great quartets of the past”.

Perusing the volume of critiques, the most beautiful commendation seems to be that made in the “Los Angeles Times” by Daniel Cariaga: “this quartet is more than fascinating, it is sincere and concrete”.

Analytical precision and passion are the distinctive characteristics of the Venetian ensemble, a quality inherited from two fundamental quartet-performance schools: the “Quartetto Italiano” under the guidance of Maestro Piero Farulli and the Mid-European School of the “Quartetto Vegh”, through the numerous encounters had with Sandor Vegh and Paul Szabo.

The “Quartetto di Venezia” has played in the most important International Festivals worldwide among which are the National Gallery in Washington, the United Nations Building in New York, the UNESCO Hall in Paris, the IUC in Rome, the Musical Soirees of Milan, Kissinger Sommer, Ossiach/Villach, Klangbogen Vienna, Palau del la Musica Barcelona, Tivoli Copenhagen, the Societè Philarmonique in Brussels.

The Quartet was recently invited by CIDIM for an extended tour in South America: Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay. The Quartet had the honor of playing for His Holiness Pope John Paul II and for the President of the Republic of Italy. The repertoire of the “Quartetto di Venezia” is extremely rich and includes, apart from the most well-known ones, works rarely executed like the quartets of G.F. Malipero (“Premio della Critica Italiana”, as Best Chamber Recording).

The vast disc production includes 19 CDs for Dynamic, Fonit Cetra, UNICEF, Aura, Koch; the last Dynamic production is the integral product of the quintets of Beethoven with the collaboration of Danilo Rossi.

Many also are the radio and TV recordings for RAI & RAI International, Bayerischer Rundfunk, New York Times (WQXR), ORF1, Schweizer DRS2, Suisse Romande, Radio Clasica Española, MBC Sudcoreana.

Pushed by the pleasure of playing together, the ensemble has collaborated with artistes of worldwide fame among whom are Bruno Giuranna, “Quartetto Borodin”, Piero Farulli, Paul Szabo, Oscar Ghiglia, Danilo Rossi, Dieter Flury (1st Flute of the Wiener Philarmoniker), Pietro De Maria, Domenico Nordio.

Andrea Vio performed in Nairobi with renowned pianist Matteo Liva at the Istituto Italiano di Cultura in the fourth concert of the “Pianoforte & Friends” series in September 2007.

 

 

The Instruments:

 
First violin: Santo Serafino 1740," Il Canale" Collection - Milan.

                                                          Second violin: Giulio Degani Venezia  1912 

                                                          Viola: Roberto Regazzi Bologna 1988

                                                          Cello: Marcello Giovanni Battista Martinenghi Venezia 1931

 

 

 

- Programme -

 

 

F. J. HAYDN:      Quartetto in Re minore op.76 n.2  "Le Quinte"

(1732-1809)

                                      - Allegro

                                      - Andante o più tosto allegretto

                                      - Minuetto

                                      - Finale. Vivace assai

 

 

H. WOLF:           Serenata Italiana in Sol maggiore

(1860-1903)

                                      - Molto vivo

                  

                                               

 

- Interval -

 

 

 

G. VERDI:           Quartetto in Mi minore

(1813-1901)

                                      - Allegro

                                      - Andantino

                                      - Prestissimo

                                      - Scherzo - Fuga

 

 

Franz Joseph Haydn

Quartet in d minor, Op. 76, No. 2 "Quinten"

 

 

Behind the masterful accomplishments found in Joseph Haydn's (1732-1809) last quartets lay more than forty years of hard, methodical work which contributed to the growth of  the genre from the light, informal divertimenti popular in his youth to a more serious, formal, and sophisticated musical form.  Early manuscripts contained simplified cello parts as cello and viola had not been considered solo instruments at that time.  However, Haydn developed a style sporting a high degree of equality, independence, and interplay between all the various parts.  Each of his mature quartets is a masterpiece of warmth, variety, logic, and balance.

 

Haydn spent thirty years of his creative life as court musician to the Esterházys, an aristocratic family who had large estates in Austria and Hungary.  Following Prince Nicholas's death and the subsequent decline of music at the court under the new Prince, Haydn returned to Vienna and from there was invited to England for two highly successful concert tours. It was following the second of these journeys and during the intensely productive time in which he composed the Creation that Haydn wrote the six quartets, Op. 76.  They were dedicated to another wealthy aristocrat, Count Joseph Erdödy, and were published in 1799.  There is no mystery to the nickname (Quinten, or "Fifths") that has been attached to the second quartet of the set.  Haydn relentlessly pursues the central motive of descending fifths (introduced in the opening measures) throughout the first movement.  Like the first movement, the second is also monothematic, a charming melody for the first violin, while the lower instruments accompany simply.  Following the middle section, which is really a fragment of the first theme, the violin is given opportunity for virtuosity in a highly ornamented recapitulation.  No charming court dance or scherzo is offered in the third movement.  Haydn surprises with a canon at the octave, the lower instruments following the violins after a measure.  The heavy, sinister sound produced has earned this movement its nickname of Witch's Minuet.   Sudden, reiterated d minor chords jolt us to the trio in D Major.  The key relationship of the movements is unusual in that all the movements of the quartet share the same tonic, D.  Although the finale, a peasant dance with a hint of gypsy, begins in d minor,  the shift to D Major tells us that the quartet may be serious, but it's not grim.



Hugo Wolf

Italian Serenade

 

Hugo Wolf or Hugo Philipp Jakob Wolf to give him his full but unaccustomed name, is known chiefly by his songs, but in his early days he had ambitious plans for operas, symphonies, string quartets and other works in larger forms.

The Italian Serenade dates from 1887 and was first written for string quartet, but five years later the composer arranged it for small orchestra, in which form he intended it to be the first movement of a three movement work. He started work on a slow movement and a Tarantella for the finale but he never finished either. Nor did he live to hear a public performance in either form. The Italian Serenade was first performed in January 1904, when both versions were played in Vienna.

It is a charmingly capricious and buoyantly exhilarating little work in rondo form. Formal analysis would be superfluous but one can hardly forbear to mention the delicious passage about half way through when the two violins, one always playing the principal tune, dance light-footed rings round one another. And it is perhaps not over-fanciful to imagine that the lover is represented by the cello, and that his pleas do not fall on deaf ears.

 

GIUSEPPE VERDI

String Quartet in E minor

 

 

In November 1872, Verdi went to Naples to supervise the production of some of his operas, including the local premiere of Aida, with Teresa Stolz in the title role. Unfortunately, the soprano fell ill in March 1873, and the performance had to postponed. Verdi, who was incapable of sitting idly by, spent the three-week hiatus composing a string quartet, his only exclusively instrumental composition.

Verdi's letters make clear that he was very well acquainted with the great quartet scores of Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven. In fact, he is said to have kept them always by his bedside and to have advised his students to use the Classical string quartets as models of clear and concise organization. Thus when the circumstances were propitious, he was able to produce a string quartet of unquestioned authority and great appeal.

The quartet received its premiere on April 1, 1873, just one day after the opening of Aida, at an informal concert at his hotel. The performers were identified only as the Pinto brothers, violins, Salvadore, viola, and Giarritiello, cello. A few weeks later, Verdi set down these words: "I've written a Quartet in my leisure moments in Naples. I had it performed one evening in my house, without attaching the least importance to it and without inviting anyone in particular. Only the seven or eight persons who usually come to visit me were present. I don't know whether the Quartet is beautiful or ugly, but I do know that it's a Quartet!". Despite Verdi's cavalier attitude, the quartet has become a staple of the string quartet repertoire, famed for the skillful way the composer combined brilliant theatrical and melodic techniques with extremely fluent and idiomatic writing.

 

 


 

 





 

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Information

Date: Sunday, June 29, 2008

Times: 4.00pm

Place: Oshwal Religious Centre Auditorium (across the road from Ukay Nakumatt)

Organized by: IIC

In collaboration with:

Free entrance

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