The Takács Quartet returns to Segerstrom Center for the Arts

The Takács Quartet returns to Segerstrom Center for the Arts on February 28, 2019 at 8:00 p.m. in Samueli Theater. The ensemble, considered to be one of the world’s greatest string quartets, welcomed second violinist Harumi Rhodes earlier this year following the retirement of founding member Kàroly Schranz. Quartet members include Edward Dusinberre and Harumi Rhodes, violins; Geraldine Walther, viola; and Andràs Fejér, cello.

Single tickets start at $39 and are now available online at www.SCFTA.org, at the Box Office at 600 Town Center Drive in Costa Mesa or by calling (714) 556-2787. For inquiries about group ticket savings of 10 or more, please call the Group Services office at 714=755-0236.

Segerstrom Center for the Arts applauds the Colburn Foundation for its support of the Chamber Music Series and its corporate partners including Kia Motors America, Official Automotive Partner; United Airlines, Official Airline; and Omaha Steaks International, Official Fine Food Retailer.

Program notes

Haydn: Quartet Op. 76, No. 1

Franz Joseph Haydn (1732-1809) received the commission for the quartet from the Count Joseph Erdödy who asked Haydn for a set of quartets, which he began composing in 1796 and officially published in 1799. The quartet opens with a sprightly tune, played individually by each instrument at the start, then developed rather guilelessly for the remainder of the movement. The second movement is a thoughtful, beautiful aria, with an underlying heart-throb rhythm underlying much of the section. A faster tempo and a lighter character identify the third movement, with a trio that has roots in Austrian Ländler dance. Not light and fluffy like earlier Haydn finales, the last movement brings necessary weight and importance to balance what came before. Although the quartet is in G major, Haydn starts the last movement in a unison G minor. Only at the very end of this stormy finale does the moody minor mode abruptly shift to the key signature as Haydn pulls back from ending on a somber note.

Bartók: String Quartet No. 6

Deeply impacted by the loss of his mother and the outbreak of World War II, Béla Bartók (1881-1945) finished his beautifully moving, albeit extremely somber sixth string quartet in 1939. Each movement is preceded by an introductory section marked “Mesto” (sadly), reappearing in different settings at the beginnings of the second and third movements, and serving as the principal subject of the finale. Full of sudden tempo shifts and ingenious treatment of thematic motifs, the first movement closes with the first violin’s high A shimmering quietly all alone. The second movement lurches along with dotted rhythms and unexpected accents, followed by the Burletta (or Burlesque) third movement which brings a hint of irony and sarcasm. The fourth movement opens again with the Mesto theme introduced by the first violin but subsequently shared by all. Bartók constructs the ensuing finale entirely from that bleak melody. This is briefly relieved by themes reminiscent of the first movement, but the Mesto music reasserts itself before bringing the work to a close.

Grieg: String Quartet

Edvard Grieg (1843-1907) did not often work in the large-scale sonata form; his entire completed literature in this form consists of a symphony that he suppressed, one concerto, one cello sonata, three violin sonatas, and this quartet. Composed in 1877-1878, the String Quartet is an exceedingly attractive and untroubled work, with a melodic spirit that recalls his best songs or piano works. One song-like figure in particular is used throughout. Grieg does treat his material in sonata fashion, but not rigorously. There is a feeling of Norwegian peasant dances in the scherzo, while the finale trots merrily with a saltarello rhythm. It is, in short, a lovable work, heartwarming in the way that Grieg’s music so often is.

The article above was released by Segerstrom Center for the Arts.