Two Beethoven Late String Quartets Featured in Cape Cod Chamber Music Festival’s 39th Season Opener

World acclaimed Emerson String Quartet opens Festival, perform second concert at new arts center

Cape Cod Chamber Music Festival (CCCMF) opens its 39th season as Cape Cod’s premiere presenter of summer chamber music with a juxtaposition of two of Beethoven’s great string quartets, performed by one of the greatest chamber ensembles worldwide, the Emerson String Quartet. Beethoven the Master offers two performances on Wednesday, August 1, 7:30 pm at First Congregational Church, 200 Main Street, Wellfleet; and on Thursday, August 2, at CCCMF’s newest venue, Falmouth Academy’s Simon Center for the Arts, 7 Highfield Drive, Falmouth.

“Our opening concerts promise a profound musical experience for all,” shares Artistic Director Jon Nakamatsu.

The Festival season opener, Beethoven the Master, features the incomparable Emerson String Quartet performing two of Beethoven’s masterworks. “String Quartet in C-sharp Minor, Opus 131” and “String Quartet in B-flat Major, Opus 130” are two of the composer’s ‘late series’ quartets. Written in the darkest and final years of Beethoven’s life, they feature successive tonalities that thematically link the two works. The final movement, the Grosse Fugue, thrills both musicians and audience. The performance of these two pieces allows listeners the opportunity to hear the performing ensemble shine in their interpretation of the works. No stranger to these quartets, Emerson String Quartet has performed and recorded Beethoven’s quartets many times, contributing to its broad critical acclaim and accomplishments. The ensemble’s presence and performances at the Festival, returning for their fifth year, are amongst the highlights of each season.

The Emerson String Quartet has amassed an unparalleled list of achievements over four decades: more than thirty acclaimed recordings, nine Grammys® (including two for Best Classical Album), three Gramophone Awards, the Avery Fisher Prize, Musical America’s “Ensemble of the Year” and collaborations with many of the greatest artists of our time.

Having celebrated its 40th anniversary last season – a major milestone for a ground-breaking ensemble that has earned its place in the pantheon of the classical chamber music world – the Emerson looks towards the future by collaborating with today’s most esteemed composers and premiering new works, thus proving their commitment to keeping the art form of the string quartet alive and more relevant than ever.

Formed in 1976 and based in New York City, the Emerson was one of the first quartets whose violinists alternated in the first chair position. The Emerson Quartet, which took its name from the American poet and philosopher Ralph Waldo Emerson, is Quartet-in-Residence at Stony Brook University. During the spring of 2016, full-time Stony Brook faculty members Philip Setzer and Lawrence Dutton received the honor of Distinguished Professor, and part-time faculty members Eugene Drucker and Paul Watkins were awarded the title of Honorary Distinguished Professor. In January 2015, the Quartet received the Richard J. Bogomolny National Service Award, Chamber Music America’s highest honor, in recognition of its significant and lasting contribution to the chamber music field.

Program: Emerson String Quartet
Eugene Drucker, violin; Philip Setzer, violin; Lawrence Dutton, viola; Paul Watkins, cello

LUDWIG VAN BEETHOVEN (1770 – 1827)

String Quartet in C-sharp Minor, Opus 131
Adagio ma non troppo e molto espressivo
Allegro molto vivace
Allegro moderato
Andante ma non troppo e molto cantabile
Presto
Adagio quasi un poco andante
Allegro

LUDWIG VAN BEETHOVEN (1770 – 1827)

String Quartet in B-flat Major, Opus 130
Adagio ma non troppo; Allegro
Presto
Andante con moto, ma non troppo
Alla danza tedesca: Allegro assai
Cavatina: Adagio molto espressivo
Grosse Fuge (published as Opus 133)

Ticket orders received on or before July 7: $34 general admission; $15 for college students with ID); FREE for attendees 18 and under. General admission to three or more concerts: $32 per ticket. Emerson String Quartet concert: $50.

Ticket orders received on or after July 8: $38 general admission; $15 for college students (with ID); FREE for attendees 18 and under. General admission to three or more concerts: $36 per ticket. Emerson String Quartet concert: $55.

Festival seating is limited to venue capacity, advance purchase is recommended. Tickets purchased online can be printed at home or picked up at will call at the performances. Tickets may also be purchased by calling or visiting the box office at 508-247-9400 or at 3 Main Street, Unit 6, North Eastham. Box office hours are 10 am to 3 pm, Monday through Friday. Phone orders are available until 12 noon on the day of each concert.

For more information about Cape Cod Chamber Music Festival’s 2018 season, performers, mission and venues, visit capecodchambermusic.org, or follow Cape Cod Chamber Music Festival on Facebook and Twitter.

About the Cape Cod Chamber Music Festival

Hailed by The New York Times as “A Triumph of Quality,” the Cape Cod Chamber Music Festival (CCCMF) has been a year-round presenter of chamber music and a major contributor to the cultural life of Cape Cod since its inception in 1979. Founded as the Cape & Islands Chamber Music Festival by the late collaborative pianist Samuel Sanders, the Festival continues his legacy. Now entering its 38th season, CCCMF presents four weeks of intensive chamber music programming in a variety of Cape locations in July and August. Throughout the rest of the year, CCCMF presents autumn and spring concerts, a community outreach program, and benefit concerts in New York and on Cape Cod. Hoping to ignite the interest of a younger audience, CCCMF welcomes all youth up to age 18 to attend any regular concert free of charge. The Festival is also host to a Composer-in-Residence program, and features composers with Cape Cod connections. CCCMF is a private, non-profit organization supported by a volunteer Board of Directors with financial support from individuals, corporations, and foundations both local and nationwide. For more information about CCCMF’s programs, schedule or tickets, visit capecodchambermusic.org, call 508-247-9400 or follow Cape Cod Chamber Music Festival on Facebook and Twitter.

Photo: Emerson String Quartet, image by Lisa Mazzuco