Born in 1745, Joseph Bologne was a celebrated composer, virtuoso violinist, and conductor. Living in pre-revolutionary France, laws and racial attitudes towards people of colour made it impossible for Bologne to enter fully into society; despite this, incredibly, he was at the centre of Parisian musical life in the latter half of the eighteenth century. Bartók’s first quartet (1908) is set in a Late Romantic language, but begins to integrate the folk idiom of the composer’s native Hungary. However, being born into a family of minor nobility meant Bartók was viewed as an outsider by the people whose music he championed. Tchaikovsky’s Third Quartet is a memorial to Ferdinand Laub, a violinist who had worked widely with the composer. The work flits between extreme sadness and deep reflection, and moments of joyfulness and excitement, perhaps reflecting the composer’s lifelong personal struggle with sexuality and relationships.
|Joseph Bologne – String Quartet no. 3 in G minor, op. 14|
|Bela Bartók – Quartet no. 4, BB 95|
|Pyotr Il’yich Tchaikovsky – Quartet no. 3 in E flat minor, op. 30|