Judith van Driel violin
Marleen Wester violin
Marie-Louise de Jong viola
David Faber cello
Ludwig van Beethoven String Quartet no. 6, op. 18/6
Olivier Messiaen Oraison (arr. David Faber)
In a subtle reference to Beethoven’s 250th anniversary, six festival days kick off with an Early Beethoven, in place of the previous festival’s Early Haydn series. Characterised by clarity, tension, humour and elegance, these quartets do not reflect the mature Beethoven’s complex and contrary character; instead, they reveal a young, ambitious Beethoven, embarking on the creation of an unparalleled quartet oeuvre.
The last of the six opus 18 quartets is the most reminiscent of Haydn. Beethoven makes use of keen wit and the element of surprise rather than focusing on melody and beauty. Within the classical forms he plays with Haydnesque abrupt halts, rhythmic elegance, sudden mood transformations, and manipulation of the musical material.
Heard here in an arrangement by David Faber, the cellist of the Dudok Quartet, Oraison has an interesting history. It was originally written for six Ondes Martenots, a predecessor of the synthesizer, and later arranged by Messiaen himself for piano and cello as Louange à l’Éternité de Jésus from Quatuor pour la fin du temps. The Dudok Quartet combines these two versions; incorporating the gliding sounds of the Ondes Martenot, but using acoustic instruments, as in Quatuor pour la fin du temps.