Flinders Quartet: ‘Beethoven and the Vignettes’

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Flinders Quartet: ‘Beethoven and the Vignettes’

Flinders Quartet’s mission is to carry on the strong tradition of the string quartet in 21st century Australia so future generations can have an idea of Australia’s culture through the music created at the time. The commissioning of five emerging composers to write vignettes in response to Beethoven’s Grosse Fugue creates contemporary relevance for this seminal work and ensures that the generations to come have an awareness of Beethoven’s string quartet canon.

Beethoven’s Grosse Fugue is seen by some as an unapproachable composition, but by pairing it with these five short works, we present a new way of listening to this vital work with fresh insights. Beethoven’s Opus 18 were his first works in the genre and his development of one small motif was revolutionary in compositional terms. This same idea is connected to the task ascribed to our five emerging composers, 200 years on.

“Beethoven: the standard of greatness against which all composers since have measured themselves. For any quartet player, coming back to Beethoven is always therapeutic, a spiritually nourishing and technically strengthening homecoming and I can’t wait to get immersed in this program. It encompasses a wide range of Beethoven’s output from one of his virtuosic Op. 18 set of six early quartets to the iconic and fearsome Grosse Fugue from his Late Period. Originally written as the last movement of his Op. 130 quartet, it took on a life of its own when Beethoven wrote an alternate last movement for 130 and more importantly, because of its scale, drama, complexity and unrelenting, uncompromising intensity – and it’s just as intense for the audience as it is for the performers. What’s really special about this program, though, is the opportunity we’ve given to five young composers to explore the Grosse Fugue and respond to it in their own way with tiny miniatures, the exact opposite of the colossus before them. I’m intrigued to see what they come up with!” WILMA SMITH, VIOLIN

Durations: 60 minutes, no interval.