Information about the programme
The violin theme that opens Haydn’s B flat major String Quartet op. 76/4 soars into the heights above a sustained chord in the other strings. Listeners felt they heard the rising of the sun – hence the work’s nickname, the “Sunrise” Quartet. Here Haydn’s music, in its allusive idiom, takes on almost proto-romantic traits. In contrast, Anton Webern’s Langsamer Satz (Slow movement) for string quartet sounds like a distant echo of the romantic era. His Six Bagatelles set out in a wholly different vein. These terse miniatures dispense with everything incidental, suggesting with a just few notes something that listeners can project further in their own minds. Finally, Schumann’s Piano Quintet is not only one of his most celebrated creations, but the piece that established the piano quintet genre in the first place. Clara Schumann rapturously summed it up: “a work abounding in vigour and novelty”.