The sublime French Quatuor Ebène has long been on the wish list of Yoram, the artistic director. Celebrated worldwide, in part because of their recent project Beethoven around the world, their repertoire covers the classical canon but also crossovers with other genres.
The quartet opens the concert with Säkulare Suite by Swiss composer Richard Dubugnon. Yet it is a Bach arrangement rather than a new work. Dubugnon: "The string quartet did not exist in Bach's time. That's why this suite sounds like an anachronism. I wanted to do more than just arrange works by Bach and chose a selection of nine different pieces, all connected to nature. These come from cantatas and chorales as well as instrumental works. They are presented as a journey through a day: from morning and afternoon to night.'
The Säkulare Suite is followed by György Ligeti's twenty-minute Métamorphoses nocturnes . You can think of this First String Quartet as a single movement or, on the contrary, as a seamless concatenation of a host of short parts. It is heavily inspired by Bartók's Third and Fourth Quartets. These, incidentally, he knew only from the scores since the Soviet authorities had banned performances of them.
After a brief intermission, the quartet concludes the performance with Ravel's famous String Quartet in F. Its structure is modeled after Debussy's, but where Debussy's music is exuberant, uninhibited and opens up new avenues, Ravel's shows emotional restraint, innovation within traditional forms and unparalleled technical mastery.
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Richard Dubugnon - Säkulare Suite, d´après des oeuvres de J.S. Bach (2016)
György Ligeti - Streichquartett No. 1 Métamorphoses nocturnes
Maurice Ravel - String Quartet in F major, M. 35
A recording will be made of this concert by the NTR. This will be broadcast on Sunday, June 4 in Het Avondconcert on NPO Klassiek. More about NTR Classical