First Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch concerts with new NZSQ line-up

05 May 2016 / News

Our new 2nd violinist Monique Lapins has arrived and we're excited to start rehearsing with her ahead of a very busy touring season. Wellington and Auckland audiences will have an opportunity to see the new line-up in June. And Monique will make her Christchurch debut in August for a special Christopher's Classics concert with Stephen De Pledge.


Friday 3rd June

This free concert at the New Zealand School of Music will be the first public concert with the new NZSQ line-up. Beethoven and Smetana shared a common affliction – perhaps the worst fate for a musician – deafness. Beethoven’s deafness began in his mid-twenties, at the time he was writing his String Quartet in D op 18/3 (the first, despite the numbering, of his quartets), and by the time of its publication in 1801 he had lost around 60% of his hearing. Yet none of the composer’s frustration or anxiety at his encroaching deafness is evident in this gentle, lyrical work. Smetana’s Quartet no 1, From My Life, was written when he was 52, after he had gone completely deaf. While the majority of the work looks back on happier times, it ends on a sustained high-pitched note in the violin, representing the intense and unrelenting ringing in his ears.


Tuesday 7th June

This will be the first opportunity for Auckland audiences to hear the NZSQ in its new line-up. Pah Homestead, with its gracious architecture and striking art works, provides the ideal setting for a programme of 19th-century classics from three of the great masters of the period.  Each of the works represents a significant period or series of events in the composer’s life: Rachmaninov’s delightful Two Movements for String Quartet are early works, written when he was just a teenager and Mendelssohn’s exuberant Quartet in D was completed in his late twenties, shortly after his marriage.  By contrast, Smetana’s semi-autobiographical quartet “From My Life” spans the breadth of his life, from youthful idealism through to the sorrow and frustration of his ultimate deafness.


Wednesday 17th August

This will be the first public concert in Christchurch with the NZSQ’s new line-up. Stephen De Pledge, Senior Lecturer in Piano at the University of Auckland, joins the New Zealand String Quartet for Ross Harris’s Piano Quintet, commissioned in 2013 by Chamber Music New Zealand for its 2015 Composer Connections series. Paired with Ross’s work is Ernő Dohnanyi’s Piano Quintet no 2, which shows the influence of his native Hungarian folk music. Between these two bookends is one of the great early works of Beethoven, his Quartet in D, op 18/3.


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