Beethoven Bartók Now will see the Solem Quartet collaborate with leading young composers of today to perform commissioned new works and present the historic works of Beethoven and Bartók in a new light, as well as producing a wealth of digital content and educational activity.
The first concert, Part I: Night Music, will take place on 4th February. This concert will place Beethoven’s op. 130 Quartet and Bartók’s Quartet no. 5 alongside music by Aaron Parker, who will explore the magic and mystery of Bartok’s ‘night music’ style via a tapestry of sound created by the string quartet and added electronics.
About the project
The late string quartets of Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827) represent the greatest works of chamber music from the nineteenth century. Written roughly 100 years later, perhaps the most important contributions to the genre since Beethoven are the extraordinary six string quartets of Béla Bartók (1881-1945). These two composers pushed forward the string quartet idiom in terms of what was demanded from performers musically and technically, and more importantly created music of huge emotional breadth. The Solem Quartet believe it is important these composers’ works continue to be performed with energy and verve in new contexts to new audiences.
Across six concerts the Solem Quartet will perform the six late quartets of Beethoven with the six quartets of Bartók, alongside commissioned works from leading living composers – Aaron Parker, Jasmin Kent Rodgman, Ayanna Witter-Johnson, Edmund Finnis, Bushra El-Turk, and the winner of a Call for Scores competition.
Each of these six events will be paired with wraparound digital content, building a community of composers with online workshops (Writing for Quartet), and developing audiences by bringing together traditional and new repertoire via thematic links in living programme notes videos (Unpacking BBN).
Part I: Night Music – from 4th February 2021
Aaron Parker – Commission
Bartók – Quartet no. 5
Beethoven – Quartet no. 13, op. 130 (revised ending)
Part II: Memoirs – from 12th March 2021
Jasmin Kent Rodgman – commission
Bartók – Quartet no. 4
Beethoven – Quartet no. 12, op. 127
Part III: Pioneers – from 1st December 2021
Call for Scores competition winner – commission
Bartók – Quartet no. 1
Beethoven – Quartet no. 14 op. 131
Part IV: Experiments – from 1st March 2022
Ayanna Witter-Johnson – commission
Bartók – Quartet no. 3
Beethoven – Grosse Fugue op. 133
Part V: Life Episodes – from 1st December 2022
Edmund Finnis – commission
Beethoven – Quartet no. 15 op. 132
Bartók – Quartet no. 2
Part VI: Coda – from 1st March 2023
Bushra El-Turk – commission
Bartók – Quartet no. 6
Beethoven – Quartet no. 16 op. 135