On Thursday, July 23, and Tuesday, July 28, the Tak¡cs Quartet returns to the Lobero to perform several late works of Franz Josef Haydn as part of a continuing project to present definitive performances of the composer who invented the genre of the string quartet. As the quartet’s first violinist, Edward Dusinberre, explained, “These late Haydn quartets have so many wonderful ideas and emotional colors that every performance has a sense of discovery and exploration. We’ve been playing them as part of the Haydn anniversary project in Madrid, and we’ve been working on some recordings of them as well. In Santa Barbara, we’re going to play several of them (Op. 77, No. 1 in G Major, Op. 77, No. 2 in F Major, and Op. 103 in D Minor) along with an early Bart³k quartet (Op. 17, No. 2) and the Brahms Sextet in B-flat Major (Op. 18), all of which have a very emotional character. I think the Bart³k goes especially well with Haydn’s last quartet, the unfinished Opus 103, which is very melancholy and speculative. Opus 103 has a lot of late style characteristics, and may even have hints of the loss of confidence he experienced late in his career.”
Dusinberre, in contrast, has no lack of confidence in the current musical scene: “I feel that our main role is to make a convincing case for the vitality of music-we’re a mainstream group, in the sense that we play a great deal of the standard repertoire, but we also do a lot to expand the limits of quartet playing, for instance when we play Bart³k along with his Hungarian folk sources. Our recording label, Hyperion, has been doing fine work, and has a real sense of exploration that helps us produce interesting recordings.”
Performing and teaching go together easily for the quartet, too: “We’ve been enjoying both our performing careers and our role as educators at the University of Colorado and here at the Music Academy of the West. Our training at the University of Colorado is going extremely well-we have graduate quartets that we’re teaching, and they’re marvelous. We worry sometimes that there are so many good musicians out there and so few ways to make a performing career, but things are getting better. We also love being here at the Music Academy. The students are in just the right age range, and we get to work closely with them and the Music Academy faculty. Donald McInnes, Peter Salaff, and Kathleen Winkler-to mention just a few of the string faculty-have been especially welcoming, and the atmosphere is wonderful. The master classes are the core of it all; students can really see the connection between what we’re telling them and how we perform.” Santa Barbara and the Music Academy are fortunate to host this distinguished group again this year.
The Music Academy of the West presents the Tak¡cs String Quartet, Thursday, July 23, at 8 p.m. and Tuesday, July 28, at 8 p.m. at the Lobero Theatre. For more information, call 969-8787 or visit musicacademy.org.