Dates / Schedules
May 7th 2021 07:00pm
Música de Câmara
Written over a period of two years, Walton’s String Quartet in A minor (No. 2) was first performed in May 1947. Having spent the duration of World War 2 writing film music, the quartet was Walton’s first major work since the Violin Concerto of 1939 and caused him considerable trouble on account of his self-perceived rustiness. His perseverance paid off however and resulted in a work of incredible energy and virtuosity that is a firecracker to perform!
The classically structured work is in four movements. It opens with an Allegro that immediately establishes the central role given to the viola throughout the work, here in counterpoint with the second violin. The movement bubbles up before launching into a Fugue (again introduced by the viola), the energy seemingly dissipating towards the end.
The second movement, a Scherzo marked «Presto» flies by in a virtuosic whirl of energy making way to a beautifully contemplative third movement «Largo», again introduced by the viola.
The concluding Allegro molto returns to the energetic manner of the second movement: long passages are written in unison, and the blistering pace of non-stop semiquavers gives this music the feel of a perpetual motion, with the melodic line whipping around between the four instruments. A short lyric central episode is quickly followed by a return to the opening material, and the Quartet in A Minor flies to its exciting close on unison hammered A’s.
Violin Tamsin Waley-Cohen and Emma Parker
Viola Ann Beilby
Cello Nathaniel Boyd
William Walton (1902-1983) String Quartet in A minor, no. 2
Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827) String Quartet No. 7 in F Major, op. 59, No. 1
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