The delightful chamber music series of the Santa Barbara Museum of Art will continue at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 10 in the Mary Craig Auditorium with a concert by Warsaw’s critically acclaimed Szymanowski Quartet, with Andrej Bielow and Grzegorz Kotow on violins, Vladimir Mykytka on viola and Marcin Sieniawski on cello.
Third time is the charmer for this ensemble, which played for us in 2008 and returned in February of this year, and made a substantial hit both times. This time they are clearly out to charm our socks off, with quartets by Franz Schubert, Quartettsatz (Movement for String Quartet) in C-Minor, D. 703; Ludwig Beethoven, String Quartet in Bb-Major, Opus 18, No. 6; and Antonin Dvorak, String Quartet No. 10 in Eb-Major, Opus 51, “Slavonic.”
It’s hard to pick a quarrel with this lovely lineup. Schubert wrote his Quartettsatz in December 1820. It was to be the first movement, the Allegro assai, of a 12th quartet, but after composing a further 40 bars of a second movement, marked andante, he abandoned the work. He didn’t take up the form again until four years later, but then it was to produce three masterpieces: No. 13 (“Rosamunde”), No. 14 (“Death and the Maiden”) and No. 15. The Quartettsatz was first performed, posthumously of course, on March 1, 1867.
Beethoven wrote his first six string quartets between 1798 and 1800, and they were all published together as Opus 18. His debt to Joseph Haydn is obvious — No. 6 begins almost like a tribute — but soon enough little mysterious side paths seem to open up, down which we can hear the original Beethoven genius approaching.
The Dvorak entry in this love feast is yet another treasure from the vast trove of music by this composer that is not nearly as well-known as it should be. It contains several Slavic folk melodies and dances and is called, sometimes, the “Slavonic.”
Tickets to the Szymanowski Quartet are $15 for Santa Barbara Museum of Art members and $19 for nonmembers. They can be purchased at the Admission Desks in person, or by credit card by calling 805.884.6423.
— Gerald Carpenter covers the arts as a Noozhawk contributor. He can be reached at email@example.com.