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On a passionate murder, an ad hoc ensemble from a prisoner-of-war camp, the feudal lord of Bohemia, and the complex love triangle involving Leo Tolstoy, Ludwig van Beethoven, and Leoš Janáček. Three concerts from the Arte Amanti series in Flanders.

  1. Ludwig von Beethoven, String quartet no.6 in B-flat major, opus 18/6 


A. The composition

String quartet no. 6 in B-flat major, opus 18/6 is a four-part composition for string quartet by Ludwig van Beethoven, which was completed in 1800. Throughout much of his first 10 years in Vienna, Beethoven successfully resisted the pressure of high expectations associated with writing a string quartet. It was not until 1798 that Prince Lobkowitz – for whom Haydn also wrote string quartets – commissioned a set of six quartets from Beethoven. The set was completed in 1801, when Beethoven was 30 years old.

The quartet is mostly known for its innovative finale, referring to a future Beethoven: La Malinconia (Melancholy). It’s an introductory adagio of harmonically intricate complexity. Dark and brooding, contrasting sharply with the light Allegretto that follows. The second movement, Adagio ma non troppo, is one of the composer’s most expressive early slow movements.The simplicity of the form and the major/minor contrasts between the sections maintain the listener’s attention, much like the sudden increase in dynamics and the coda does, reminiscent of the minor mode of the middle section. The Adagio concludes with two soft pizzicato chords.

The Scherzo commences like the tumbling antics of a circus troupe – with syncopations and quick, buoyant waves. Following two parts characterized by essentially simple rhythmic patterns, the Scherzo bursts into vivacity and rhythmic eccentricity. Nonetheless, the heart of the quartet lies in its fourth movement, named La malinconia: Adagio; Allegretto quasi allegro.

The stunning, harmonious spectrum of the finale may be the only thing that can beat the Scherzo’s rhytmic ingenuity. The ‘melancholic’ introduction makes way for a cheerful Allegretto. Then, suddenly, the Malinconia from the beginning and the Allegretto engage in an agitated exchange with each other, pulling the listener in two very different directions. Finally, the main Allegretto theme returns, but with a greatly slowed-down Poco agitato that leads into a Prestissimo (the fastest tempo marking found in Beethoven’s works), culminating towards the end in a rhythmic unison of fortissimo 16th notes.

B. Performed by: Fibonacci Quartet

The Fibonacci Quartet is a young but prominent string quartet. Lune De Mol, violin, Krystof Kohout, violin, Elliot Kempton, viola and Findlay Spence, cello, are a residence ensemble connected to the Escuela Superior de Musica Reina Sofia in Madrid and the Dutch String Quartet Academy in Amsterdam with Marc Danel from the Danel Quartet.

The Fibonacci Quartet received several prized: they won first prize at the Royal Overseas League International Chamber Music Competition, first prize at the Cavatina Chamber Music Competition, first prize at the International Triomphe de l’Art Competition in Belgium, the Kirckman Society Award, Schiermonikoog Festival’s people’s choice award and the special prize from the Shostakovich Society in Paris.

C. The location

The concert is part of concert series Arte Amanti and was recorded on 5 March 2023 at the Stadsfeestzaal Aalst, Belgium.

  1. Josef Suk, Meditation on the Old Czech Hymn ‘St Wenceslas’, Opus 35a


A. The composition

Josef Suk (1874-1935) was born in Křečovice in South Bohemia, which was then part of Austria. He studied piano, violin, and organ with his father, who served as a village choir master. His exceptional talent led to his enrollment at the Prague Conservatory in 1885 at the age of 11, where he initially studied the violin. Eventually, he became a composition student of Antonín Dvořák. He formed the world-renowned Bohemian Quartet with three of his fellow students and played second violin there for most of his life. From 1922 onwards, he taught at the Prague Conservatory. Among his many students were composer Bohuslav Martinů and pianist Rudolf Firkušný. Suk occasionally served as director of the conservatory from 1924 until the end of his life.

Josef Suk played the second violin for the Bohemian String Quartet. From 1914, the ensemble was obligated to perform an Austrian folk song at the start of each concert.

Suk decided to supplement this mandatory piece with a work inspired by the ancient sacred Bohemian ‘St. Wenceslas’ hymn. The public immediately understood its message: a plead to the saint for the wellbeing of the Czech population.

The Bohemian Quartet performed this one-movement meditation for the first time on 27 September 1914. On 22 November 1914, the premiere of the version for string orchestra was performed by the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra. That same year, the piece was published by Fr. A. Urbánek along with arrangements for piano and organ.

This first Urtext edition, prepared by Suk scholar Zdeněk Nouza, is published in two scores: one for string quartet (BA 9583; study score TP 583) and another for string orchestra (BA 9584).

The orchestral version differs in a few details and has an additional part for double bass.

Josef Suk was Dvořák’s composition student and son-in-law, and as second violinist of the Bohemian Quartet, he was one of the most important performers of Dvořák’s chamber music.

This hymn, known as Svatý Václave, finds its origin in the 12th century, but is still popular to this day. Dvořák references it in his Hussite Overture from 1883. Suk’s Meditation was composed in 1914, around the outbreak of the war. The piece was intended to offer something that reflected the Czech nationalist spirit. Just two days after its completion, the work premiered on 27 September 1914 at the Rudolfinum, on the eve of the Feast of St. Wenceslas.

B. Performed by: Fibonacci Quartet

C. Location: 5 March 2023, stadsfeestzaal Aalst, Belgium.


Aansluitend bij dit werk van Josef Suk en na het eerste applaus hoort u het Fibonacci Quartet in Twee Stukken voor Strijkkwartet van Dmitri Sjostakovitsj. Dit wordt ten onrechte niet vermeld in de presentatie. 

  1. Leoš Janáček, Kreutzer Sonate


A. The composition

In 1803, Ludwig van Beethoven composed his famous ‘Kreutzer Sonata’ for violin and piano. In 1887-1889, Russian poet Lev Tolstoy wrote a story in which Beethoven’s sonata plays a key role. He named it: The Kreutzer Sonata. In 1923, Czech composer Leoš Janáček created his first string quartet, inspired by Leo Tolstoy’s story. That’s why his string quartet is also subtitled ‘Kreutzer Sonata’, even though it’s not a sonata, and its reference to Beethoven’s sonata is indirect. Thus, the great music of the Viennese classical period first became a dramatic story of Russian literature and from there, a string quartet of early modernism in Czechia.

Russian poet and author of the novel War and Peace, Leo Tolstoy, enjoyed a deep reverence in the Slavic countries that bordered on religious fervor: he had become a symbol of a Slavic revival, of a new era full of Slavic self-confidence. He was celebrated everywhere, including in Czechia: on the occasion of the poet’s 80th birthday in September 1908, a ‘Tolstoy Festival’ was held in Janáček’s hometown of Brno. In the minds of Czech patriots, this enthusiasm for Russia was directed against Habsburg rule. The Austrians had held Czechia firmly in their grip for 300 years, but did not grant the country the same autonomy rights enjoyed by Hungary in the Austro-Hungarian Empire.

This led to steadily increasing tensions and intense anti-German and anti-Austrian sentiments before the First World War. Janáček’s heart also beat for Russia. He expressed this after the Tolstoy celebration in a piano trio based on Tolstoy’s story: The Kreutzer Sonata. This piano trio is now lost. It was only fourteen years later that Janáček created his well-known string quartet based on that story: the almost seventy-year-old composer revisited the subject of the lost trio and transformed it into a quartet. For the Bohemian Quartet, he made his official quartet debut after destroying a youthful work in this genre from his study days in Vienna in 1880. With the enthusiasm of a young master, he put the quartet on paper in just nine days, between 30 October and 7 November.

Leo Tolstoy’s story ‘The Kreutzer Sonata’ tells a psychologically gripping tale of a marital crisis in which Beethoven’s so-called ‘Kreutzer Sonata’ plays a key role. Unlike the poet, Janáček sided with the woman, the seemingly adulterous wife whom Tolstoy strongly condemned. However, just as in his operas, Janáček placed the suffering woman at the center. Unbeknownst to him, he found a fellow activist in Sofia Tolstaya. Tolstaya was Tolstoy’s wife, who also took a stand against her husband’s story and sided with the woman, as Janáček did in his music. It quickly became clear that Tolstoy had his own wife and himself in mind with the main characters in his story.

Sidenote: Christopher Plummer and Helen Mirren portrayed the Tolstoy couple in an unforgettable manner in the film ‘The Last Station‘.

B. Performers

C. Location: Same as 1. and 2.

  1. Olivier Messiaen : Quatuor pour la fin du temps our piano, violon, violoncelle et clarinette


A. The composition

In occupied Europe of 1940, specifically in France, Olivier Messiaen, along with André Jolivet and Daniel-Lesur, founded the composers’ group La Jeune France several years before the outbreak of World War II. Their manifesto aimed to counter the frivolity, particularly in Parisian music, advocating for a ‘living music stemming from integrity, generosity, and artistic precision’. Meanwhile, Messiaen’s musical style evolved independently of this group; he composed organ cycles primarily for his own performance. However, during the Battle of Verdun in May 1940, Messiaen was captured by the Nazis and interned at Stalag VIII-A prisoner-of-war camp near Görlitz. There, he encountered a clarinetist, a violinist, and a cellist and composed a trio for them. This piece evolved into a quartet with the addition of a piano, giving birth to ‘Quatuor pour la Fin du Temps‘.

The title ‘Quatuor pour la Fin du Temps’ – Quartet for the End of Time – is inspired by a section of John’s Revelations, in which an angel ascends from heaven and proclaims the end of time. This is how Messiaen makes a connection between the apocalyptic horrors of Nazi terror—a moment when time, the history of humanity, seemed to stand still—and a purely musical conception of time.

The ‘Quatuor pour la Fin du Temps’ is a key work in Messiaen’s oeuvre. It includes elements that would be reflected again later on in his compositions: hindu rhythms, modal structures, birdcalls, an exceptionally sensitive approach to sound, and above all, a transcendent, Catholic spirituality that permeates his work on all levels. And perhaps it is in this conviction that the origin of the somewhat naive, playful style that is characteristic of Messiaen can be found.

B. Performed by: Pierre Fontenelle, cello and Ezgi Göktürk, piano

Pierre Fontenelle, former principal cellist of the Royal Opera of Wallonia-Liège and the 2020 Namur Musician of the Year, this young Belgian artist boasts an unconventional career trajectory, thriving as a soloist, chamber musician, and orchestral player both in Belgium and abroad. He has gained international acclaim, securing the first prize at the Breughel Competition 2022, along with the Audience Award and the Prize for Best Interpretation. At the Edmond Baert International Competition 2019, he clinched both the first prize and the Feldbusch Prize, as well as the second ‘Van Hecke’ Prize at the Buchet International Cello Competition.

At the age of 20, in 2019, Pierre joined the Royal Opera of Wallonia-Liège as a cello soloist under the direction of Speranza Scappucci, becoming the youngest permanent musician in the orchestra. Simultaneously, he serves as a guest cello soloist with the Belgian National Orchestra, the Liège Philharmonic Orchestra, the Luxembourg Philharmonic Orchestra, the Bordeaux-Aquitaine National Orchestra…

He performed as a soloist with several orchestras (Orchestre Philharmonique Royal de Liège, Brussels Philharmonic Orchestra, Musique Militaire Grand-Ducale, Ensemble Appassionato, etc.) and in many different halls and festivals in several countries (China, Taiwan, Slovenia, Croatia, the Netherlands…). He regularly performs with the Oxalys ensemble.

Ezgi Göktürk contributes to the current piano culture with her unique program combinations and repertoire choices. She studied at the Hacettepe University Ankara State Conservatory under Diler Argat and Öznur Orbay, and continued her studies at the Sibelius Academy under the artistic mentorship of renowned pianists such as Erik T. Tawaststjerna, Antti Siirala, and Anna Kuvaja. She also had lessons from prominent chamber musicians including Paavo Pohjola, Tuomas Turriago, and Martti Rautio.

Ezgi has been awarded various prizes in different music competitions, including the Pera Piano Competition (Turkey), the Helmi Vesa Piano Competition, and the Tampere Piano Competition (Finland). She is frequently invited to participate in international masterclasses and festivals, such as the Mozarteum Summer Academy (Austria), International Bartok Music Festival, Antalya Piano Festival (Turkey), Music Academy of Villecroze (France), and Nurmes Summer Academy (Finland).

  1. Location: this Arte Amanti concert was recorded on 30 May 2023 at the Cultuurhuis in Essene, Belgium


5. Claude Debussy, Sonata for cello and piano

  1. The composition

Initially subtitled ‘Pierrot is Angry at the Moon’, Debussy’s Cello Sonata carries a touch of contemporary sensitivity found in commedia dell’arte: raw, heart-on-sleeve, dark humor. The cello sonata stands out as the most unrefined, emotionally illuminated of the three sonatas composed by Debussy—perhaps even of all his works. The opening movement unfolds a vocal theme in the cello, evoking alternatingly ecstatic bursts and subdued murmurs. The central section almost takes on a jazz-like quality in its contrapuntal interplay between three voices—the piano serving a dual role as melodic partner to the cello and as bold, bluesy accompaniment, the bowed cello in its upper register sharing the melody with the piano, and the lowest notes of the cello, played pizzicato, assuming the role of a double bass with an elastic syncopation. This movement carries something lunar: time halts and begins anew, melodic and harmonic themes oscillate between sultry darkness and starlit dances. From the serene final statement of the serenade emerges an exuberant duet between cello and piano.

B. Performed by: Pierre Fontenelle, cello and Ezgi Göktürk, piano

C. Location: this Arte Amanti concert was recorded on 30 May 2023 at the Cultuurhuis in Essene, Belgium.


  1. Ottorino Respighi, violin sonata in b minor


A. The composition

Ottorino Respighi is widely renowned for his lavish and expansive orchestral works, such as the Roman trilogy, yet he also made significant contributions to chamber and salon music. His musical journey began when he learned to play the violin and piano as a child, and for the first twenty years of his composing career, he focused solely on these instruments. He was a skilled violinist, and his mastery of the instrument shines through in the idiomatic violin parts featured in the works on this recording.

Respighi’s violin sonatas demonstrate the incredibly broad spectrum of his musical interests and the influences on his style: from early music, through German Romanticism, to impressionistic tonal colors. They also showcase his remarkable gift for melody. His Sonata in D minor is one of Respighi’s early works. Its lively and energetic outer movements contrast against the soft but passionate Adagio. His Sonata in B minor, which he composed twenty years later, is grander, more intense and dramatic, and shows Respighi’s mastery of chamber music as an adult.

B. Performed by: Sylvia Huang, violin and Boris Kusnezow, piano.

Sylvia Huang is praised for her ‘genuine lyricism and moving musicality, her simplicity, and her sensitivity’, and for delivering a ‘highly varied palette of colors’ (newspaper Le Soir). According to the music press, Sylvia Huang is described as a musician with ‘integrity, emotion’, and a ‘rich sound’ (newspaper De Standaard). She is a laureate of the Queen Elisabeth International Music Competition of Belgium in 2019, where she won two people’s choice awards: the Musiq’3 Prize and the Canvas-Klara Prize of the Year 2019 awarded by the Belgian Music Press Association.

In February 2021, she made her debut with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra Amsterdam under Andrew Manze, performing Mozart’s Concerto K.218. She reprised this performance in July 2021 with Iván Fischer and the RCO at the Konzerthaus Berlin during the official state visit of the King and Queen of the Netherlands. She has collaborated with numerous orchestras such as the National Orchestra of Belgium, the Brussels Philharmonic, the Royal Chamber Orchestra of Wallonia, and the Sinfonia Rotterdam, performing in prestigious venues including the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, the Palais des Beaux-Arts in Brussels, Flagey, the Flemish Opera in Ghent, and deSingel in Antwerp. She has also been featured in various international festivals including the B-Classic Festival of Flanders, Echappées Musicales du Médoc, Festival Musiq’3, Collegium Vocale Crete Senesi, and Festivals de Wallonie.

Boris Kuznetsov is one of the most wanted piano accompanists of his generation. He has performed at concert halld such as Carnegie Hall New York, the Concertgebouw Amsterdam, Wigmore Hall London and the Berlin Philharmonic. Twelve CD recordings featuring various ensembles and radio broadcasts document the pianist’s artistic endeavors. Furthermore, several recordings have received nominations for the Opus Klassik and the German Record Critics’ Prize.

Boris Kuznetsov, born in Moscow, began his musical education at the renowned Gnessin Academy. Since the age of eight, he has been living in Germany, where he completed his studies under Prof. Bernd Goetzke in Hannover. His achievements include winning the German Music Competition, as well as receiving international awards such as the Fellowship of the Borletti-Buitoni Trust, and scholarships from the German Musical Life Foundation and the German National Academic Foundation.

C. Location: this concert took place on 30 May 2023 at the Cultuurhuis in Essene, Belgium.


  • Ludwig von Beethoven (1770-1827)

String quartet no.6 in B-flat major, opus 18/6 : Allegro con brio, Adagio ma non troppo, Scherzo (Allegro) & Trio, La Malinconia: Adagio-Alegretto quasi allegro

Fibonacci Quartet

  • Josef Suk (1874-1935)

Meditation on the Old Czech Hymn ‘St Wenceslas’, Op.35a

Fibonacci Quartet

  • Leoš Janáček (1854-1928)

Kreutzer Sonate

Fibonacci Quartet

  • Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)

Quatuor pour la fin du temps our piano, violon, violoncelle (et clarinette)

Pierre Fontenelle, piano, Ezgi Göktürk, piano

  • Claude Debussy (1862-1#918

Sonata for cello and piano: Prologue, Sérénade, Finale

Pierre Fontenelle, piano, Ezgi Göktürk, piano

  • Ottorino Respighi (1879-1936)

Violin sonata in b minor

Sylvia Huang, violin, Boris Kusnezow, piano

Recording technician: Leo August De Bock

Pictured above: Luna De Mol, Fibonacci Quartet


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