Programs 18-19

Programs 18-19


Fundamental 2018-2019


Dudok Kwartet Amsterdam - Judith van Driel - Photo by Feiko Koster
Dudok Kwartet Amsterdam - Marleen Wester - Photo by Feiko Koster
Dudok Kwartet Amsterdam - Marie-Louise de Jong - Photo by Feiko Koster
Dudok Kwartet Amsterdam - David Faber - Photo by Feiko Koster
The Dudok Quartet Amsterdam‘s 2018-19 season is marked by the spirit and music of Beethoven.

In 1825, a year in which the Netherlands was struck by a hurricane and Hokusai created his woodcut The Great Wave off Kanagawa, Beethoven shook the musical world with his String Quartet opus 130. In his 2009 biography of the composer, Jan Caeyers described the work as a “monster story in six episodes”.
The weight of the composition is borne by the two fast and extremely complex outer movements. In between, Beethoven composed four more easily digestible movements. Beethoven himself thought of the emotionally charged fifth movement, the Cavatina, as his crowning achievement, claiming that even the thought of it brought tears to his eyes.

But then: the Grosse Fuge! A gigantic fugue lasting more than fifteen minutes. Stravinsky proclaimed it “an absolutely contemporary piece that will be contemporary forever.” According to Stravinsky, this was a music that would continually take on new relevance and meaning over time. The Dudok Quartet Amsterdam plunged headlong into this unsurpassed masterpiece, working on it for more than a year. Four separate programs link the piece to twentieth and twenty-first century compositions that share its spirit. In addition, older music which laid the foundation for Beethoven is included.

We will gladly inform you about these programs and the availability of the Dudok Quartet Amsterdam. We can be reached via or by calling +31 618088881.

Program I Innovative romanticism

  • L. van Beethoven – String Quartet Op. 18 no. 1
  • T. Keuris – String Quartet no. 2 (1985)
  • L. van Beethoven – String Quartet Op. 130 (with alternative finale)

Could you consider Tristan Keuris the Dutch Beethoven? His sound world is unique, his expressivity and colorful style connects in a wholly idiosyncratic manner the atonal with the traditional. In the end, however, Keuris is a romantic, although clearly an innovative one. Just as Beethoven, who already in his early quartets displayed an original voice. While his String Quartet Op. 18 No. 1 (1799) is clearly in the tradition of Haydn and Mozart, it exudes the highly personal sound of a young revolutionary.

Program II Sounding sculptures

  • C. Gesualdo & J. Ockeghem – Madrigals (in arrangements for string quartet)
  • I. Xenakis – Tetras (1984)
  • L. van Beethoven – String Quartet Op. 130 (with the Grosse Fuge)

Like Beethoven, the Greek composer and architect Iannis Xenakis was fascinated by both the violence of nature and architecture in music. As a six-year old, Xenakis heard Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony and wrote later of it an apocalyptic effect that had on him. His string quartet Tetras was groundbreaking in its approach to sound and structure. Xenakis’s music has been described as “spatial-symphonic” or as sonic motion in space. It is hyper-modern and yet suddenly can remind one of the early music of Gesualdo and Ockeghem. Beethoven’s opus 130 forms the heart of the program, bridging a gap of over four centuries of music.

Program III The thrill of passion 

  • L. Janáček – String Quartet no. 1 Kreutzer Sonata
  • L. van Beethoven – Grosse Fuge Op. 133
  • L. Janáček – String Quartet no. 2 Intimate Letters
  • D. Shostakovich – Piano Quintet Op. 57 with Hannes Minnaar

Beethoven, Janáček and Shostakovich: all composers that bared their souls in music. Three intense, extremely emotional personalities whose music was marked by the passion of their lives. Janáček based his first string quartet, the Kreutzer Sonata, on the novella of the same name by Leo Tolstoy. Tolstoy’s main character is driven crazy by Beethoven’s Kreutzer Sonata. His second quartet, Intimate Letters, references a long and ardent exchange of letters between the composer himself and the married Kamila Stösslová, who also happened to be 38 years younger. Beethoven’s life also famously included an unattainable woman known to us only through a letter in which he called her his “Immortal Beloved”. Janáček’s music displays a strong connection to Beethoven: phrases that run short of breath, abruptly broken off melodies and extreme outbursts. Shostakovich’s Piano Quintet, composed in 1940, is considered one of his best works. The music has its roots in the classical tradition from Bach to Beethoven. The first two movements are respectively a long prelude and a fugue. Even so, the music clearly is born of the time and place in which he lived: the communist regime of the Soviet Union. The fear and violence of his time are both audible and palpable in this intensely moving music.

Program IV Dudok & Vincent van Amsterdam

  • J.S. Bach – Organ Concerto BWV 1052 arr. for Accordeon & String Quartet
  • L. van Beethoven – Grosse Fuge Op. 133
  • S. Gubaidulina- Silenzio for Violin, Cello & Bayan
  • R. Wagner – Ouverture Tristan & Isolde arr. for Accordeon & String Quartet by Max Knigge (world premiere)

It is likely that Bach first composed his BWV 1051 as a violin concerto but the work has survived in versions for harpsichord or organ and orchestra. Together with accordionist Vincent van Amsterdam, the Dudok Quartet Amsterdam gives Bach’s work a new twist in a dynamic version for accordion and string quartet. In an arrangement of the overture from Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde, Dudok and Van Amsterdam prove that the combination of string quartet and accordion can be transformed into a complete symphony orchestra. As a link between these two extremes, Dudok performs Beethoven’s Grosse Fuge. These three works of orchestral grandeur are flanked by the tranquility of Silenzio by Gubaidulina. This is music which searches constantly for emptiness and holds a mirror up to grand gesture.

Other repertoire 2018-2019

  • J. Haydn – String Quartets Op.20 (selection)
  • L. van Beethoven – String Quartet Op. 59 no. 2 in E minor
  • L. Van Beethoven – String Quartet Op. 132 in A minor
  • H. Pfitzner – String Quartet Op. 36 in C# minor
  • S. Taneyev – String Quintet Op. 16 in C major