Post image for Music Preview: MENDELSSOHN & SIBELIUS STRING QUARTETS (LA Phil at Disney Hall)

by Tony Frankel on October 28, 2018

in Music,Theater-Los Angeles


Sibelius’s String Quartet in D minor, Op. 56 (1908-1909) is one of his most mature, significant, and inspirational chamber works. Indeed, it’s the only substantial chamber work he produced after the turn of the century. He wrote it in between the Third and Fourth symphonies, but as with the latter it is far more introspective, suggested by the subtitle, “Intimate Voices.” It has a deeply personal, even shadowy, air that would be almost impossible to achieve in a symphony. And this is the work which will close LA Phil’s Chamber Concert this Tuesday, October 30, 2018 at 8. First Associate Concertmaster Nathan Cole and his wife Assistant Concertmaster Akiko Tarumoto (pictured below) will be on violins; Assistant Principal Ben Ullory on viola; and Assistant Principal Dahae Kim on cello. These players worked together with amazing beauty, grace, fire and syncopation for Tchaikovsky’s Souvenir de Florence at the last chamber concert.

The scale of the work suggests Beethoven’s influence on the Finnish master, especially the former’s economical tendency to conserve all opening materials in some form as the work progresses. Yet the patchwork that connects all five movements of the 31-minute “Voces Intimae” is superficial, as each movement starts with an adjustment of material from those that came before. Still, there is a profoundly individual personality from movement to movement, and while the chordal progressions may conjure up Beethoven, the rawboned melodic lines, inner dissonances, and twisted textures should evoke Bartok.

Mendelssohn’s string quartets are disputably the best examples of the genre between Schubert and Brahms, offering an exceptional balance between that Romantic emotion and the Classical sophistication, between drama and form, and two of them will open the program at Disney Hall. The two different teams — also excellent LA Phil players, each a virtuoso — will offer a well-chosen sampling of Mendelssohn with No. 4 and No. 6. You will encounter the composer in styles that are characteristic of a broader view of his musical expression with the serious and contemplative E Minor (op. 44/2) and the emotional F-Minor (op. 80) with its anguished outcries and frightening dissonances. And because of the superb acoustics in the Hall, the sound is so close and rich it feel like a private, personal performance for just one listener.

A pre-concert wine reception — sponsored by Cobblestone Wine — is included, beginning at 6:30 in BP Hall.

photos courtesy of LA Phil

Los Angeles Philharmonic Chamber Music
MENDELSSOHN : String Quartet No. 6 in F minor, Op. 80
MENDELSSOHN : String Quartet No. 4 in E minor, Op. 44, No. 2
SIBELIUS : String Quartet in D minor, Op. 56, “Voces intimae”
Walt Disney Concert Hall, 111 S. Grand Ave.
plays Tuesday, October 30, 2018 at 8, 2018
for future events, call 323.850.2000 or visit LA Phil

Leave a Comment