Preview provided by St. Stephen’s Concert Series.

On Sunday, September 13 at 4:00 pm, the world renowned Borromeo String Quartet, Nicholas Kitchen and Kristopher Tong, violins, Mai Motobuchi, viola, and Yeesun Kim, cello, will open the new season of the St. Stephen’s Concert Series,  Their performance will take place  at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church at 82 Kimberly Drive in Durham.  A half hour Pre-Concert Discussion led by first violinist, Nicholas Kitchen, will begin at 3:00 pm.

The program will include a string quartet by Haydn (Op. 76, No. 6) and Tchaikovsky’s String Quartet No. 1, whose ravishingly beautiful slow movement is often performed separately both by string quartets and orchestras.  

Between the Haydn and Tchaikovsky works will come the String Quartet No. 4 by the late Gunther Schuller, an amazingly versatile musician who died this summer.  The Borromeos performed the quartet in Boston’s Jordan Hall in November, 2009 and then recorded the work in the same space under Schuller’s supervision.  The resulting CD contains both the live performance and the studio recording of Schuller’s quartet, along with Bartok’s fourth quartet and “Lamentation and Satire” by Mohamed Fairouz.  

The fourth quartet of Schuller was commissioned by Brian Sands, who asked that the piece include references to Mozart and Beethoven.  The listener may have difficulty recognizing the references, but no one will miss a deliberate reference to Haydn.  As was the case with Haydh’s “Farewell” Symphony, the members of the quartet will leave the stage one by one toward the end of the piece, only instead of blowing out candles on their music stands, they will simply close their Apple laptops.  

Single tickets ($25) will be available at the door (cash or check only).  The concert is free for those 18 or under.  Season tickets ($100) for all five concerts of the 2015-2016 season will also be available at the door.

Concerts by the Borromeo String Quartet are always very special events.  In reviewing the quartet’s marathon traversal of Bartok’s six quartets last spring CVNC reviewer Jeffery Rossman wrote the following:

“In the Woody Allen film Manhattan, there is a scene where he makes a list of things which make life worth living.  If I were to add to that, I’d certainly include hearing the Borromeo String Quartet live  — regardless of what they are playing.”