The Kreutzer Quartet have been associated with the music of Reicha, presenting his revelatory quartets, in modern and historical contexts, at their concert series at Wilton’s Music Hall London. Peter Sheppard Skaerved has also recorded Reicha’s cyclic chamber music extensively-the monumental 12 Duos for Violin and Cello, and his last major chamber work, the Duo Concertant (http://www.peter-sheppard-skaerved.com/2011/06/anton-reicha-duo-concertant/).
This will be the opening volume of a projected cyclic exploration of Reicha’s monumental and revolutionary corpus of quartets. Op 48 and 49 are fascinating, written whilst Reicha and Beethoven were in their second period of close communication, in Vienna (They had both begun their professional careers as co-members of the Bonn Court Orchestra). Beethoven was working on his Op 18 set at the time, and their is a convincing argument to be made that the two composers’ works can be seen as a counterpoint of ideas and techniques, part of the communication between the two contemporaries.
The discs will be released on the pioneering Toccata Classics label, for whom the Kreutzers have won critical acclaim for their cycle of David Matthews Quartets. Toccata is also releasing Peter Sheppard Skaerved’s 5-disc set of the 30 Tartini Solo Sonatas, beginning this autumn. For more information on the Kreutzer Quartet, go to www.kreutzer-quartet.com
24th April-an astonishing day.
Today the Kreutzers focused on the fourth quartet in the cycle, Op 49 no 1. This C minor quartet explicitly references Mozart, with a nod to the great C minor Piano Concerto (No 24 K491), providing the thematic core for the whole work. This quartet also established a dialogue with the 4th of Beethoven’s Op 18 Set (also in C minor). I think that it’s fair to say that we (the quartet) were profoundly affected by spending a whole day ‘in’ this piece. Conversation (both serious and joking) kept flowing back to Goethe, most specifically, his ‘romantic’ novel, Die Leiden des jungen Werthers (1774). There is no doubt that the young Reicha had read this book, because the young Beethoven (with whom he spent so much time in Bonn) had a penchant for the yellow waistcoats (knitted by Eleanor von Breuning)worn by the hero. And a more mysterious link; Brahms instructed (only half in jest) that the title page of his great C minor Piano Quartet Op 60 , which ends with the suicide of Werther, bear a (colour) picture of Brahms himself in the yellow vest, with a gun to his head. So Reicha, as ever seems to be reaching out in every direction. The slow movement of of the Op 49 No 1 quartet is a miracle of economy and stillness, in Mozart’s great ‘tragic’ key of G minor. However this astounding piece of stealthy counterpoint (it’s a canonic fugue) looks back to the tragic melancholy of the Baroque-and for any British-based group, irresistibly evokes Henry Purcell. Here are some outtakes.
Anton Reicha-C Minor Quartet Op 49 No 1 (Outtakes!)
Kreutzer Quartet 24th April, St John the Baptist, Aldbury. (Engineer Jonathan Haskell)
27th March-London. In May we will make the third disc in the cycle, of Quartets Op 49 2 & 3. Today we worked through Op 49 No 2, in a rehearsal in central London. This is just a rough workshop recording of the Adagio, the 2nd Movement of this D major Quartet. Quite astonishing music, and a joy to rehearse with such colleagues/friends-Reicha-Adagio Op 49 No2.
Outtakes! Here’s just a hint at the fun we are having with this music.
Anton Reicha-Quartet Op 48 No 1 (C Major Quartet) Allegro moderato
Anton Reicha-Quartet Op 48 No 2 (G Major Quartet)Allegro
Anton Reicha-Quartet Op 48 No 3 (E Flat Major Quartet)Allegro Moderato
Fuga (Allegro Vivace)