Programs 19-20

Programs 19-20


Instead of focusing on just one masterpiece during the 2019 – 2020 season, the Dudok Quartet Amsterdam chose to highlight the integral set of six string quartets opus 20 by Joseph Haydn. In these six monuments, Haydn set the bar for every composer of string quartets from that moment until today.

With OPUS 20, the Dudok Quartet Amsterdam pays tribute to the Enlightenment in programs that explores every dramatic, deeply human and rhetorical corner of performing arts. Haydn was already forty years old when he started composing these works, now considered to be among his earlyquartets. Schubert and Mozart would never reach that age, Beethoven would already have composed more than two thirds of his string quartets. If Haydn would have passed away after writing these opus 20’s, we would surely have respectfully named them works by “the Late Haydn”. However, opus 20 was only the beginning. Haydn would be the first to reveal the string quartet as the grandiose medium it would become in this set of quartets.

Program I Sturm und Drang
Haydn’s direct heirs

  • J. Haydn – String quartet opus 20 no. 3 in G minor
  • J. Haydn – String quartet opus 20 no. 4 in C major
  • J. Brahms – String quartet opus 51 no. 1 in C minor

  • J. Brahms – Clarinet quintet opus 115 in B minor with Annelien van Wauwe

Although Haydn and Brahms are both well known for being masterful craftsmen-composers, the music in this program transcends the artisan and allows each of them to present the humanist ideals of their time. Haydn shows off his dramaturgic skills in his G minor quartet, and Brahms puts fate and desolation at the center of his first first quartet. Haydn on the other hand brings the Enlightened ideal of a humane all-rounder to life in his C major quartet. Brahms, on the contrary, struggled to find the optimal excellence he demanded from himself when writing a string quartet. The composer-musicologist was in possession of the manuscripts of Haydn’s opus 20-quartets. His limitless admiration for Haydn (and his direct successors Mozart and Beethoven) crippled at least his first twenty attempts at writing in this genre. Luckily for us his first surviving string quartet shows him living up to every expectation, bringing the genre to the present.

In the expanded version of this program we team up with clarinet player Annelien van Wauwe, like the Dudok Quartet Amsterdam a recipient of the Borletti-Buitoni Trust Award 2018.

Program II Folk prodigies
Haydn & Ligeti & Vigh

  • J. Haydn – selection from the opus 20 quartets
  • G. Ligeti – String quartet no. 1 “Métamorphoses Nocturnes”
  • P. Vigh – Bagatellen World premiere.

This adventurous program focuses on central Europe, and especially on three composers from different eras that have a special connection with Hungary: Haydn, Ligeti and the young Dutch-Hungarian composer Peter Vigh. Haydn composed his opus 20-quartets in Fertöd while serving as kapellmeister for the Esterházy’s. György Ligeti wrote his first string quartet while still living in Hungary, saturating the early work with hints of Hungarian folk music and influences from the music by Bartók, but also foreshadowing his later masterpieces and bantering the communist regime. Peter Vigh unites the sound of his predecessors from Haydn until Ligeti with an exceptionally authentic sound world. The Dudok Quartet Amsterdam provides a meeting ground for three generations of composers.

Program III Dark ages
Haydn and the early 20th century

  • J. Haydn – String quartet opus 20 no. 5 in F minor
  • K.A. Hartmann – String quartet no. 1 “Carillon”
  • Anton Webern – String quartet opus 28 & Langsamer Satz für streichquartett

Haydn’s F minor string quartet is an emotionally intense work. The circumstances under which he composed this piece where not easy at all: the Esterházy palace was built in remote marshlands, the climate was humid and cold. The palace’s inhabitants, including Haydn, had to leave their homes in Vienna for long periods, usually months at a time and were afflicted by diseases and misery. The legacy of the Enlightenment must have seemed very distant from there.
Anton Webern and Karl Amadeus Hartmann found themselves in a world dominated by fascism almost two centuries later. Both composer’s works were entitled Entartet, and were not allowed to be performed in public. In spite of this, Hartmann set out to study with Webern in 1941. Whereas Webern composed hyper-emotional music within the strict boundaries of the twelve-tone technique, the more intuitive Hartmann pointed out the cruelties of their time much more plainly in this early string quartet.

Program IV Dudok’s Fundamental
OPUS 20 in 2020

  • J. Haydn – String quartet opus 20 no. 1 in E-flat major
  • J. Haydn – String quartet opus 20 no. 2 in C major
  • J. Haydn – String quartet opus 20 no. 3 in G minor
  • J. Haydn – String quartet opus 20 no. 4 in D major
  • J. Haydn – String quartet opus 20 no. 5 in F minor
  • J. Haydn – String quartet opus 20 no. 6 in A major

The Dudok Quartet Amsterdam presents the integral set of string quartets within one concert, telling one continuous story. This program sets out for a two-and-a-half hour voyage, an ode to Enlightenment, exploring every dramatic, deeply human and rhetorical corner of performing arts. The Dudok Quartet Amsterdam is the first to offer the integral set of quartets as a single concert program.

Other repertoire 2019-2020

The Dudok Quartet Amsterdam has been booked with a few alternative program suggestions in 2019-2020, these can be offered if your booking comes at the right time for our agenda:

Beethoven – piano concerto no. 4 arr. for string quintet and piano (with Hannes Minnaar)
Beethoven – String quartet opus 18 no. 6 in B-flat major
Brahms – String quintet opus 111
Ligeti – String quartets no. 2 (1968)
Ravel – String quartet

The Dudok Quartet Amsterdam is currently co-developing two special programs. Click on any of the links in the description to read more about these programs.

The first is a program in cooperation with Michaela Riener (soprano) and Erik Bosgraaf (recorder). In The Rape of Artemisia, the horrible #metoo-story of 17th-century painter Artemisia Gentileschi is brought to the present in two world premieres, written by Josephine Stephenson and Antti Auvinen. Their music will be alternated with music from the time of Artemisia.

A full overview of the Dudok Quartet Amsterdam’s repertoire for 2019-2020 is available by request. Specific program wishes can be discussed with the quartet.