The ASQ February 2020 Schedule
Friday, February 7, 12 – 1 pm
Wisconsin Public Radio
The Midday with Norman Gilliland
WERN 88.7 FM
Friday, February 7, 5 – 7 pm
The Canopy Sessions
Olbrich Gardens Bolz Conservatory
3330 Atwood Ave, Madison
Tickets at the door $5
Saturday, February 8 at 7:30 pm
Park (‘Freethinkers’) Hall
307 Polk Street, Sauk City
Tickets: $15 general, $12 kids & seniors
THE EVENT BELOW HAS BEEN CANCELLED,
DUE TO AN OUTBREAK OF ILLNESS AT CHAI POINT.
Sunday, February 9 at 2:00 pm
Chai Point Retirement Community
1400 N. Prospect Avenue, Milwaukee
Free and Open to the Public
Quartet No. 2 in G Major
Quartet in B♭Major, Op. 130
Ludwig van Beethoven
The program opens with an unusual work, the Quartet No. 2 in G Major, by American composer Randall Thompson. Better known for his choral pieces, Thompson wrote this quartet in 1967 to celebrate the 130th anniversary of the Harvard Musical Association. The quartet is joyous and optimistic in character, with thoughtful and creative part-writing. The first movement brims with youthful energy, contained in smoothly-flowing triplets. The simple, graceful folk melody that opens the second movement continually reinvents itself in a set of charming variations. The third movement’s heartfelt tune expresses a deep content, setting up the finale, whose explosive energy erupts in a good-natured, light-hearted romp.
Beethoven wrote the second piece on our program, the Quartet in B♭ Major, Op. 130, 141 years before the Thompson and many centuries beyond it in subtlety, sophistication, intellectual rigor and emotional depth. At six movements and 40 minutes, it is the composer’s longest piece of chamber music, and it stretches limits in other ways as well. The original work, completed in 1825, contained the Grosse Fuge (great fugue) but Beethoven replaced that in 1826 with the Finale Allegro, the last full-scale movement he completed before his death in 1827. Op. 130 bristles with contrasts, and juxtapositions of extremes, on the micro-level to the macro-level, all contained in movements ranging from a short, gnarly Presto, to a graceful Poco Scherzo, to a lyrical, innocent Alla Danza Tedesca (In the Style of a German Dance), to the fabled Cavatina which, Beethoven wrote, moved him to tears when he even thought about it.
In performing Op. 130, the Ancora String Quartet tackles its 14th of the 16 Beethoven String Quartets. The ASQ plans to perform Op. 59 #3, and Op. 131, in the summer and fall, to complete the Beethoven cycle in this, the 250th anniversary of his birth.