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BEETHOVEN!

Watch video of Part Three of the New Zealand String Quartet’s 25th anniversary project, BEETHOVEN! The Complete String Quartets Cycle, a complete cycle of Beethoven’s sixteen string quartets in six concerts.

…the Beethoven cycle was the most fitting way for the quartet to celebrate its 25th anniversary, and will have been one of the year’s absolute highlights wherever it was heard.

Lindis Taylor

Part three: The Late Quartets

The works that comprise the Late Quartets programmes are regarded as some of the greatest and most spiritually profound music ever written. They include the Opus 127, Opus 130 (with Grosse Fugue), Opus 132, and Opus 135 string quartets, culminating in the Opus 131 masterpiece. Despite the immense stature of the works we continue over the centuries to be drawn in by the intensely personal experience of the music. These unforgettable programmes comprise the composer’s last completed works.

The two programmes in the Late Quartets series was toured to six centres around New Zealand in August and September 2012 and presented by Christopher’s Classics in Christchurch.

the rich maestoso chords that heralded Opus 127 showed that, after almost a quarter-of-a-century together, the four musicians have created their own unity and signature. Last night, the sheer vibrancy of their playing seemed to find its own harmony with the flickering candles and mysterious purple-lit recesses…

Willam Dart

BEETHOVEN! is a partnership project between the New Zealand String Quartet and Chamber Music New Zealand in association with the New Zealand International Arts Festival.

Programme 6

This concert you are about to see was webcast live at 6.30pm on 7 September from the beautiful candlelit interior of St Mary of the Angels church, Wellington, New Zealand.

Beethoven String Quartet in B flat major, Op.130 with Grosse Fuge

  1. Adagio ma non troppo – Allegro
  2. Presto
  3. Andante con moto ma non troppo
  4. Alla danza tedesca: Allegro assai
  5. Cavatina: Adagio molto espressivo
  6. Grosse Fuge in B flat major Op 133

Beethoven String Quartet in C# minor Op.131 (1826)

  1. Adagio ma non troppo e molto espressivo
  2. Allegro molto vivace
  3. Allegro moderato
  4. Adagio
  5. Andante ma non troppo e molto cantabile
  6. Presto
  7. Adagio quasi un poco andante
  8. Allegro

Programme 5

This concert you are about to see was webcast live from St Mary of the Angels church, Wellington on 8 September at 6.30pm. The programme features: String Quartet No 12 in E♭ major Opus 127; String Quartet No 16 in F major Opus 135; String Quartet No 15 in A minor Opus 132.

Beethoven String Quartet in E flat major Op.127 (1824)

  1. Maestoso – Allegro
  2. Adagio, ma non troppo, e molto cantabile
  3. Scherzando vivace – Presto – Tempo 1
  4. Finale

Beethoven Quartet in F major, Op.135 (1826)

  1. Allegretto
  2. Vivace
  3. Lento assai, cantante e tranquillo
  4. Grave ma troppo tratto – Allegro (The difficult resolution)

Beethoven String Quartet in A minor Op.132 (1825)

  1. Assai sostenuto – Allegro
  2. Allegro ma non tanto
  3. Molto Adagio (Song of thanksgiving of a convalescent to God, in the Lydian mode) alternating with Andante (Feeling new strength)
  4. Alla marcia, assai vivace – più allegro
  5. Allegro
  6. Appassionato – Presto

BEETHOVEN!

Watch video from Part Two of the New Zealand String Quartet’s 25th anniversary project, BEETHOVEN!, a complete cycle of Beethoven’s sixteen string quartets in six concerts.

Part Two: Revolution

The five ‘middle’ period string quartets are presented in two programmes as the Revolution series. The group includes the three Quartets of Opus 59 commissioned by Count Razumovsky, Russian Ambassador to Vienna. The string quartets of this period are full of heroic and revolutionary sentiments and are symphonic in scope.

The two Revolution series programmes were toured to ten centres around New Zealand by Chamber Music New Zealand and also presented in Whangarei, Upper Hutt and Waikanae.

Programme 4

The concert you are about to see was filmed and recorded live at the Auckland Town Hall on 9 May at 7.30pm and live-streamed to a world-wide audience. The programme features the Opus 74 ‘Harp’ quartet, the Opus 95 ‘Quartetto Serioso’ and the third of the Opus 59 Razumovsky quartets.

It includes an encore which is a taster for the Late Quartets tour – the Cavatina from Opus 130.

Critics subsequently made the following comments about the Quartet’s performances of these works:

NZSQ’s playing and ensemble were breathtaking, commanding a wide dynamic range, their ensemble immaculately balanced and resonant of tone.

Paul Serotsky, Chamber Music New Zealand – May 14th, 2012

I think the audience, as one, almost forgot to breathe. The unity of this ensemble is extraordinary.

Clinton White, CityNews, Canberra, Australia – May 14th, 2012

BEETHOVEN! is a partnership project between the New Zealand String Quartet and Chamber Music New Zealand in association with the New Zealand International Arts Festival.

String Quartet No 10 in E♭ major Opus 74 (Harp)

  1. Poco Adagio
  2. Adagio ma non troppo
  3. Presto – attacca:
  4. Allegretto con variazioni

String Quartet No 11 in F minor Opus 95 (Serioso)

  1. Allegro con brio
  2. Allegretto ma non troppo – attacca:
  3. Allegro assai vivace ma serioso
  4. Larghetto expressivo – Allegretto agitato

String Quartet No 9 in C major Opus 59 No 3 (Razumovsky)

  1. Introduzione. Andante con moto – Allegro vivace
  2. Andante con moto quasi allegretto
  3. Menuetto. Grazisoso – attacca:
  4. Allegro molto

Programme 4 encore

Cavatina from Beethoven String Quartet no 13 in B flat major, Op 130

Programme 3

The concert you are about to see was recorded live at Wellington Town Hall on 3 May at 7.30pm and live-streamed to a world-wide audience. . On the programme are the first two Opus 59 Razumovsky string quartets.

String Quartet No 8 in E minor Opus 59 No 2 (Razumovsky)

  1. Allegro
  2. Molto Adagio. Si tratta questo pezzo con molto di sentimento
  3. Allegretto
  4. Finale. Presto

String Quartet No 7 in F Opus 59 No 1

  1. Allegro
  2. Allegretto vivace e sempre scherzando
  3. Adagio molo e mesto – attacca
  4. Theme russe. Allegro

BEETHOVEN!

Watch video of Part One of the New Zealand String Quartet’s 25th anniversary project, BEETHOVEN!, a complete cycle of Beethoven’s sixteen string quartets in six concerts.

Part One: The Age of Enlightenment

Part one of this cycle, The Age of Enlightenment, is two programmes of the first six string quartets, written early in Beethoven’s life when he was 30. The title of the series refers to the graceful, classical elegance of the music, typical of that period in history and showing the influence of Haydn and Mozart.

The Age of Enlightenment programmes were presented by the New Zealand String Quartet exclusively at the New Zealand International Arts Festival in Wellington, on 25 and 26 February 2012.

Music critic Garth Wilshere said that the Quartet ‘gave a virtuosic performance capturing an effortless quality, judging the harmonies perfectly.’

BEETHOVEN! is a partnership project between the New Zealand String Quartet and Chamber Music New Zealand in association with the New Zealand International Arts Festival.

String Quartet No 1 in F major Opus 18 No 1

  1. Allegro con brio
  2. Adagio affettuoso ed appassionato
  3. Scherzo: Allegro molto
  4. Allegro

String Quartet No 2 in G major Opus 18 No 2

  1. Allegro
  2. Adagio cantabile – Allegro – Tempo I
  3. Scherzo: Allegro
  4. Allegro molto, quasi presto

String Quartet No 3 in D major Opus 18 No 3

  1. Allegro
  2. Andante con moto
  3. Allegro
  4. Presto

String Quartet No 4 in C minor Opus 18 No 4

  1. Allegro ma non tanto
  2. Andante scherzoso, quasi Allegretto
  3. Menuetto: Allegretto
  4. Allegro – Prestissimo

String Quartet No 5 in A major Opus 18 No 5

  1. Allegro
  2. Menuetto
  3. Andante cantabile
  4. Allegro

String Quartet No 6 in B flat major Opus 18 No 6

  1. Allegro con brio
  2. Adagio ma non troppo
  3. Scherzo: Allegro
  4. La Malinconia: Adagio – Allegretto quasi Allegro

The New Zealand String Quartet’s Shostakovich taster

This excerpt is a little taster from one of the fabulous works we will be playing in our Power and Passion concert in the 2012 New Zealand Festival of the Arts programme on 4 March.

It is the Allegretto from Shostakovich’s String Quartet No. 9 in Eb, Opus 117. We recorded this in early August 2011 at Parry Sound, Ontario, on our Canadian festivals tour.

Quartet shows another side

The Quartet performed their Goldilocks and the Three Bears routine in Toronto on 12 November and we heard from an audience member who took his children along that it was ‘achingly funny’ and that they were bent over with laughter for much of it. While the skit is altogether a great group effort we see a whole new side to Douglas Beilman in the Goldilocks outfit.

Here’s a video clip from this concert:

I attended the children’s concert that the New Zealand String Quartet performed in Toronto yesterday afternoon (12 November) for Mooredale Concerts, and am writing to say how much I enjoyed it. There were three adults and six children in our party, and we all had a wonderful time. The Goldilocks and the Three Bears routine was achingly funny – I was bent over with laughter for much of it! The skit was such a great group effort that I feel loathe to single out individual contributions, but may I just say that Douglas Beilman has a comedic gift that is truly rare among musicians.

My two daughters who attended (aged 8 and 10) genuinely enjoyed themselves. Often when I drag them along to events that I feel will be “good for them” they oblige and make polite, “let’s make Daddy happy” sorts of noises afterwards. This time they were so excited and happy after the concert – their reactions were spontaneous and honest, and they were vocal in letting me know that they had an absolutely great time, as did the two friends that they brought along and their two cousins. The concert was entertaining and fun, educational and moving. The quartet members all spoke well – they never talked down to or over the heads of the children, and at the same time there was plenty of food for thought for the adults as well.

Keep up the great work, NZSQ – you are building the audiences and music lovers of the future.”

Robin Elliott
University of Toronto

New Zealand at Kings Place

In July 2011 the New Zealand String Quartet visited the exciting new venue, Kings Place, in London to prepare for their themed week of concerts in March 2012. Here you’ll see the Quartet rehearsing in the beautiful Kings Place concert hall and talking about the programmes they’ll present in London with guest artists Jonathan Lemalu, Madeleine Pierard and Richard Nunns.

The New Zealand String Quartet in London

The New Zealand String Quartet is recorded here rehearsing for concerts in the City of London Festival July 2011 and describing two works by New Zealand composers, Lyell Cresswell’s Kotetetete and Gillian Whitehead’s Puhake ki te rangi, performed in Festival programmes. The rehearsals of Bartok’s 4th Quartet and Kotetetete were recorded in Merchant Taylor’s Hall. Soundtrack includes Jack Body’s Three Transcriptions for string quartet and Whitehead’s Puhake ki te rangi, both recorded by Atoll Records.

New Zealand String Quartet records Schubert on YouTube

The New Zealand String Quartet recently recorded Schubert’s epic String Quartet in G major D887 in St Anne’s Church in Toronto. The producers were Bonnie Silver and Norbert Kraft, old friends from recording sessions of the Quartet’s acclaimed Mendelssohn set. This recording will be released on CD by Trust Records; meanwhile, you can enjoy this performance of the delightful Scherzo from the work.

New Zealand String Quartet plays Schumann and Shostakovich on YouTube

The New Zealand String Quartet’s recent Schumann and Shostakovich tour in New Zealand delighted critics and audiences. Here you can enjoy two samples: the Quartet playing the second movement of Schumann’s String Quartet in A Minor Opus 41 No 1 and Shostakovich’s 7th String Quartet in F-sharp Minor Opus 108, both recorded in the Hunter Council Chamber, Victoria University, on August 31, 2010.

New Zealand String Quartet playing Beethoven on YouTube

The New Zealand String Quartet’s acclaimed performance of the Allegro from Beethoven’s Razumovsky Quartet in E minor Opus 59 No 2 is now on YouTube for all to enjoy.

Venues

Douglas Beilman, 2nd violinist of the New Zealand String Quartet, takes time out from a rehearsal of Shostakovich to explain the Quartet’s approach to concert venues.

New Zealand String Quartet on YouTube, recording Jack Body’s Three Transcriptions