13 Aug 2012

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The great late Beethoven quartets

The New Zealand String Quartet is touring New Zealand with a programme of Beethoven’s late string quartets.

It’s the culmination of BEETHOVEN! a nationwide series presenting all of the Beethoven string quartets as part of the Quartet’s 25th anniversary celebrations.

The two programmes that complete the BEETHOVEN! cycle include the composer’s last string quartets, regarded as some of the greatest and most spiritually profound music ever written. Here Beethoven is mysterious, magical and deeply moving.

NZSQ cellist Rolf Gjelsten says words can only serve as superficial guides into the mysterious world of the late Beethoven string quartets.

“From the first bars of each work, we are drawn into a trance-like state with an intense and profound dialogue, questioning the very essence of the human condition,” Gjelsten says.

“It’s as if Beethoven is finally resigning himself to his mortal struggles, to fate and will, and expressing an over-arching idea that the diversity and paradox that exist in society and life are all operating under a unifying force,” he says.

“Each late quartet contains a profound message about our purpose in this world. Revisiting these works time and time again magnifies our sense of awe and discovery.”

NZSQ violist Gillian Ansell says Beethoven was writing for himself and posterity. “He was not concerned with the reaction of his contemporary audiences, who would not have heard anything like it,” she says.  “He was on a search for resolution to mankind's suffering and pain. The late quartets in minor keys end either magically or triumphantly in a major key.”

BEETHOVEN! Part Three: The Late Quartets

Programme 5
String Quartet No 12 in E flat major Opus 127
String Quartet No 16 in F major Opus 135
String Quartet No 15 in A minor Opus 132

Programme 6
String Quartet No 13 in B flat major Opus 130 with Grosse Fuge
String Quartet No 14 in C# minor Opus 131

Where and when:
Palmerston North Speirs Centre
22 August 6.30pm Programme 5
23 August 6.30pm Programme 6

Hawkes Bay Church Road Winery
25 August 7.30pm Programme 5
26 August 2.30pm Programme 6

Dunedin First Church
29 August 7.30pm Programme 5
30 August at 7.30pm Programme 6

Auckland St Matthew-in-the-city
1 September 6pm (by candlelight) Programme 5
2 September 2.30pm Programme 6

Nelson Nelson School of Music
4 September 7.30pm Programme 5

Wellington St Mary of the Angels Church
7 September 6.30pm (by candlelight) Programme 5
8 September 6.30pm Programme 6

How to book:
Auckland,Wellington and Hawke’s Bay concerts
Book at Ticketek www.ticketek.co.nz Service charges may apply

Palmerston North, Nelson and Dunedin concerts
Book at Ticket Direct www.ticketdirect.co.nz Service charges may apply

For media information and interviews, contact:
Rose Campbell, Manager, New Zealand String Quartet Trust
Email: rose.campbell@nzsq.co.nz

Ph: 04.499.8883; Mob: +64.272403816