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Three concerts by Quatuor Diotima

sat 13 jan 2018

In November last year the French Quatuor Diotima in the Muziekgebouw aan ’t IJ gave a series of four concerts in three days, each concert containing a work by Schönberg, Beethoven and Boulez. The Concertzender recorded three of the four concerts. They will be broacast with live commentary by Emanuel Overbeeke and presented by Pauline Verburg in Concertzender Live on Monday 15th, 22nd and 29th January between 20.00 and 22.00.
The quartet had a number of reasons for this series.

In the first place it was a tribute to the Kolisch Quartet, an Austrian quartet who played from the 20’s to the 40’s. They played not only the standard string quartet repertoire but much contemporary music and played the premières of among others the quartets by Berg, Schönberg and Bartók. In 1936 in Amerika Schönberg composed his Fourth String quartet. The Kolisch quartet decided to baptise this in Los Angeles  and to place this première in a series  of four concerts each containing a quartet by Schönberg. Schönbergs four filled one half, the other half was filled by a late Beethoven quartet (the quartet opus 135 wasn’t played and the Grote fuga opus 133 was played as an addon to the quartet opus 130). The combination Beethoven-Schönberg was quite normal for the Kolisch quartet  ; the composers of the ‘ First Viennese School ’ were their normal fare. In the period that the Kolisch quartet gave the four concerts (December 1936-January 1937) they also made the four recordings which were released at the end of the 40’s on lp and later as cd’s.

By combining Schönberg four times with Beethoven the Kolisch quartet wanted to emphasise the likenesses between the two, something with which Schönberg would have strongly agreed.

By repeating the series the Quatuor Diotima wished to do more than simply a repeat of the Kolisch quartet series. They wanted to combine the two old masters with another who was equally groundbreaking  – hence Pierre Boulez.