Beethoven -- String Quartet Op.18 No.1
Kitamura -- Camellia (world premiere)
Shostakovich -- String Quartet No.8
Spinei -- Bootleg Sugar Lips (world premiere)
Young Composition Competition Winners' pieces
Spinei -- Bootleg Sugar Lips
Beethoven -- String Quartet Op.18 No.1, first movement
The two new pieces were written for those concerts. Shostakovich 8th quartet is the most popular of his 15 string quartets and I have performed it many times. But it's great to work on a piece with different musicians/groups because that gives you new ideas and perspectives. This time around, the tempi we are taking are very different than how I have played before, so as the interpretations. And I LOVE those new ideas. I have also performed the Beethoven Op.18-1 a couple of times and the same thing with this piece; different, and I like the changes.
Throughout the piece you hear agony, pain and fear that Shostakovich went through. His artistic life was threatened by the Soviet Union and there were the two World Wars during his life time. Most of his music represent the difficult time and darkness.
One Shostakovich fun fact: he loved sports and he was a licensed soccer referee.
Beethoven's Op.18 No.1 string quartet was written between 1798 and 1800. It appears as the first quartet but is actually his second (Op.18 No.3 was composed first). Haydn invented string quartet in the 1760's and then Mozart wrote many of them. Beethoven studied those two masters' quartets, worked very carefully and produced his own quartets. Unlike the Shostakovich quartet, it took Beethoven two years to complete this and five other quartet as a set.
The slow second movement is said to have been based on the tomb scene of Romeo and Juliet. There are many pieces inspired by Romeo and Juliet but as far as I know, this quartet movement is the earliest in the history. I personally love this movement the best.
Enough said, you can purchase tickets online now! Come see MuSE Quartet play this week!