“Hearing any Bartok quartet live … is an event,” Jeremy Geffen, Carnegie Hall’s Director of Artistic Planning, observes in his introductory video explaining what’s special about composer Bela Bartok’s first string quartet.
In that case, Saturday’s “Live from Carnegie Hall” broadcast is doubly special for Colorado classical music fans. The performance features Boulder’s Takacs Quartet performing Bartok’s first, third and fifth string quartets.
Geffen’s video gives the backstory of Bartok’s first string quartet and explains how it documents the composer’s development in his late 20s.
The first movement carries the influences of Richard Strauss, Debussy and Beethoven. After an odd Viennese waltz in the second movement, the final movement emerges with a sound that’s “something simpler and something smaller scale.”
“It’s very much folk-influenced and what we think of as Bartok,” Geffen observes.
The Bartok quartets have become a calling card for the Takacs Quartet. The group has played all six quartets in countless concerts since releasing them on disc in 1998. Most recently, they played the first Bartok quartet Monday night as part of a performance at Grusin Hall in Boulder.
The ensemble, formed in 1975 and currently faculty fellows at the University of Colorado, keeps busy performing at chamber music festivals throughout the world and releasing numerous recordings, including recent discs of Schubert and Britten string quartets.