This February, as part of the Barbican’s
2015/16 season, they have been invited to hold a BBC Radio 3 Lunchtime
Residency for an unprecedented second time. Over four Thursdays, they will play
at LSO St. Luke’s, which possesses some of London’s very best acoustics.
The first recital, on 4 February, presents
both Smetana’s String Quartets (1876;
1883). Composed by the ‘Father of Czech Music’ as he realised his incipient
blindness, No. 1 was the first
autobiographical string quartet ever written. No. 2 dates from a darker time still, when Smetana’s mental
wellbeing had severely declined and he was on the verge of being committed to
an asylum. Both are penetrating and wrenching, with grippingly vivid passages and
an acute sense of life’s fragility. The Pavel Haas Quartet’s recent recording
of both won critical accolades and their fourth Gramophone chamber award.
After this stormy start, the residency
continues on 11 February with Prokofiev’s String
Quartet No. 1 (1931) – which begins with a lively urgency before a
sublimely melancholic finale – and Bartok’s String
Quartet No. 5 (1934), inarguably one of the highlights of the modern
The third concert on 18 February continues
this twentieth-century focus with two pieces from Shostakovich. It begins the
uncompromising, mournful and terrifying String
Quartet No. 10 (1964), a work of boundless complexity. It will be balanced
with the Piano Quintet (1940), an
exciting and accessible piece that remains one of its composer’s most popular.
Russian pianist Denis Kozhukhin will join the quartet.
The series draws to a close on 25 February
with one of the undisputable peaks of chamber composition, Schubert’s String Quintet (1828). The young
romantic’s final work in the genre, it runs for almost an hour, passing through
some of the most sublime melodies ever plucked from music’s possibilities.
German cellist Danjulo Ishizaka will join the quartet for what looks to be a
stiring close to their season.
|What||Pavel Haas Quartet, LSO St. Lukes|
|Where||LSO St. Luke's, 161 Old Street, St. Luke's, Islington, London, EC1V 9NG | MAP|
|Nearest tube||Old Street (underground)|
On 04 Feb 16, 1:00 PM – 2:00 PM
On 11 Feb 16, 1:00 PM – 2:00 PM
On 18 Feb 16, 1:00 PM – 2:00 PM
On 25 Feb 16, 1:00 PM – 2:00 PM
|Website||Click here to book via the Barbican website|