This preview has been provided by St. Stepehn’s Episcopal Church.

On Sunday, March 17 the internationally celebrated Borromeo String Quartet will return to St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church in Durham to perform a concert on the St. Stephen’s Concert Series. The concert will take place at 4p.m. and will be preceded by a half hour discussion beginning at 3p.m. Tickets for the concert will be available at the door. The concert is free for those 18 or under.

For several years now the quartet has been performing a series of “Beethoven Plus” concerts at the church. Each concert has consisted of two of Beethoven’s string quartets plus … For example, there was a Beethoven plus Bartok concert which included Bartok’s fourth quartet, a Beethoven plus Jaffe concert, etc. On one very memorable occasion the Borromeos gave a Beethoven plus Beethoven concert. Titled “A Late Beethoven Triptych,” the concert consisted of the quartets op. 132, op. 131, and op. 130 with the Grosse Fugue.

The concert on March 17 will be another Beethoven plus Beethoven concert, but this time it will be middle period Beethoven – the Beethoven of the Fifth Symphony, the “Waldstein” and “Kreutzer” Sonatas, and the “Archduke” Trio. This “Middle Beethoven Triptych” will consist of the three op. 59 quartets, better known, perhaps, as the Razumovsky quartets.

The Razumovsky quartets are staples of the string quartet literature, yet Nicholas Kitchen, Durham born first violinist of the quartet, likens the arrival of the op. 59 quartets on the musical scene to the formation of the Himalayan mountains by the tectonic collision of India and Asia. According to Kitchen, “There is nothing less awesome about what happened in Beethoven’s mind as he conceived these world-changing pieces. These masterworks are well loved and often heard, but in this concert we hope not only to bring to the audience the pleasure of listening to these well known pieces, but also to offer a glimpse of the moment when these works had not yet been created, when the page was blank and Beethoven was choosing the path he would take.”

During the concert the quartet will use their now famous Apple laptops to play the Razumovsky quartets from facsimiles of Beethoven’s manuscripts, complete with cross-outs and coffee stains. The same music will also be projected on a screen for the audience to see. “Even at first glance,” said Kitchen, “the audience will see how basic features changed radically right up to the moment that the work was given for publication.”

The Borromeo Quartet will be performing the complete Beethoven string quartet cycle several times this year – first in New Hampshire and later in Japan. This summer in Taos, NM the Borromeos will share the performance of the cycle with student quartets whom they will coach.

Tickets for the concert will be available at the door. The concert is free for those 18 or under.

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