Quartet de corda en mi bemoll major núm. 10 (D  87), op. 125 núm. 1

F. Schubert (1797 – 1828)

      I. Allegro moderato

      II. Scherzo: prestissimo – Trio

      III. Adagio

      IV. Allegro


Quartet de corda núm. 10 en mi bemoll major, op. 51, «Quartet eslau»

A. Dvorak (1841 – 1904)

      I. Allegro ma non troppo

      II. Dumka (elegia). Andante con moto – Vivace

      III. Romança. Andante con moto

      IV. Final – Allegro assai



Quartet de corda en sol menor, op.10, CD 91, L. 85 

Debussy (1862-1918)

       I. Animé et très décidé

       II. Assez vif et bien rythmé 

       III. Andantino, doucement expressif

       IV. Très modéré


The Purest Genre
String Quartets by Schubert, Dvořák and Debussy

Antoni Pizà―Musicology Professor at The City University of New York

Although it may sound cliché, there is no doubt that the string quartet made up of two violins, a viola (a similar instrument, but slightly larger and tuned differently) and, finally, a cello as a bass-baritone is usually considered the most excellent, pure and exemplary musical genre. Why is that? One can speculate, but many composers are comfortable within these instrumental group restrictions. It is as if the creator had to give their best to restrict exactly the compositional options. The restrictions are obvious: Just four instruments – three really because one, the violin, is repeated, and not an entire orchestra instrumental range. The quartet, therefore, makes the best out of its timbral “poverty”, limited to the strings and nothing else. Faced with this obstacle, the composer sees their challenge as massive: To cook a great lunch with very few ingredients, the strings. However, Schubert, Dvořák and Beethoven―the composers we will listen to this evening―manage this challenge really well. Therefore, their compositions included in this programme have proved to be the musical repertoire benchmarks.

Franz Schubert (1797–1828) wrote his String Quartet in E flat major, No. 10 (D 87), op. 125 No. 1, still a teenager. This work is sometimes called the “Haushaltung” or “home” quartet because it was apparently first performed in 1813 with his own family members at the composer’s home. Therefore, if you like, it is a relatively simple work, designed for amateurs and not great virtuous. In addition, it is intended to be performed in a small room and an informal, relaxed atmosphere among friends.

The following work in the programme, the String Quartet No. 10 in E flat major, op. 51, “Slavic Quartet” by Antonín Dvořák (1841–1904), was also premièred at a private house in 1879. In this case, at the great violinist Joseph Joachim’s residence in Berlin―by the way, a friend and patron of the composer from Pollença Miquel Caplloch. Dvořák is usually associated with nationalist musical movements, i.e. the artistic tendency to include specific elements of each country (indigenous tunes and dances) in “classical” musical genres (such as the sonata, the symphony, etc.). Dvořák, in fact, is usually regarded as one of the Czech musical nationalism creators. However, in this quartet, like in many other works, the composer extends the borders to the entire “Slavic” world. For instance, the work’s second movement includes a dumka―a Ukrainian-origin melody characterised by the alternation of contrasting musical ideas. Furthermore, the final movement includes a skocna―a Czech folk rhythm.

Finally, to complete the programme, the String Quartet in G minor, op. 10, CD 91, L. 85 by 31-year-old Claude Debussy (1862-1918), composed in 1893, presents an entirely new type of music defying all harmony laws and the traditional form, opening up to the 20th-century music soundscapes. The work combines César Franck’s influence, such as the cyclical form (a musical motif repeats throughout the piece) and the Javanese gamelan’s exotic sounds. Consequently, elements such as colour and texture are more important than the notes themselves. What was solid and permanent is replaced for ephemera, by smoke – if to say, evoking Mallarmé’s symbolist poetry and Monet’s paintings’ universe. The music goes its own way, drifting through dreamlike landscapes, free from the diatonic scale, harmonic function and tonal system’s gravitational pull taught in conservatories.

The first movement beginning’s sharp musical motif serves as the entire quartet’s backbone and will be heard in multiple iterations afterwards. We will hear abundant pizzicatos in the second movement while that same motif becomes a fugue in the fourth. For all these reasons, this composition is already a masterpiece who, at 31, already knew his impressionism had transformed music history through the purest genre: the string quartet.

BELCEA QUARTET Corina Belcea (violin), Axel Schacher (violin), Krzysztof Chorzelski (viola), Antoine Lederlin (violoncello)

…as the London Times wrote in the Spring of 2019, these musicians are not confined by traditional boundaries. The two founding members, the Romanian violinist Corina Belcea and the Polish violist Krzysztof Chorzelski, brought a very different artistic provenance to the ensemble in 1994, which was expanded by the French musicians Axel Schacher (violin) and Antoine Lederlin (violoncello).

This also reflects the range of their repertoire: they have already recorded the complete string quartets by Bartok, Beethoven, Brahms (Diapason d’or de l’annee 2016), and Britten and are constantly presenting new works by contemporary composers such as Joseph Phibbs (2018), Krzysztof Penderecki (2016), Thomas Larcher (2015) and Mark-Anthony Turnage (2014 & 2010). Another work follows this season: The French composer Guillaume Connesson has dedicated his new String Quartet to the Belcea Quartet, it will be world premiered in Vevey, premieres will follow at the Cologne Philharmonie, Konzerthaus Wien, Wigmore Hall London, Sibelius Academy in Helsinki and Dunkers Kulturhus Helsingborg. These commissioned works are created in association with the quartet’s own foundation, whose aim is to continually broaden the string quartet literature as well as to support young quartets through concentrated joint coaching sessions. In this way they can also pass on to the next generation the experience they gained as students of the Amadeus & Alban Berg Quartet.

In addition to the complete recordings, the quartet can refer to a varied discography with recordings (among others) of Berg, Dutilleux, Mozart, Schonberg & Schubert. Recent recordings include the Shostakovich Album, with the 3rd String Quartet and the Piano Quintet with Piotr Anderszewski, (2018) and the string quartets by Janaček & Ligeti’s ‘Metamorphoses nocturnes’ (2019). In the Spring of 2022 they recorded both of Brahms’ String Sextets with Tabea Zimmermann and Jean-Guihen Queyras.

Their performances of all Beethoven String Quartets at the Konzerthaus Vienna in 2012 were released on DVD by EuroArts in 2014, followed by the release of a recording of Britten’s three String Quartets in 2015.

From 2017 to 2020, the quartet was the Ensemble in Residence of the Pierre Boulez Saal in Berlin, where the four return to regularly since then. Since 2010 the Belcea Quartet is part of a shared string quartet cycle at the Konzerthaus Vienna, from this season on the Quatuor Ebene is their partner-ensemble there.

This season the ensemble will perform at the String Quartet Biennale in Barcelona, Wigmore Hall London, the Pohang Festival in South Korea, Flagey in Brussels, Tonhalle Zurich as well as the Konserthus in Stockholm, to name just a few.


Corina Belcea Violin by Giovanni Battista Guadagnini (1755) kindly on loan from MERITO String Instruments Trusts Vienna

Axel Schacher Violin by Nicolas Lupot (1824)

Krzysztof Chorzelski Viola by Nicola Amati (ca. 1670)

Antoine Lederlin Cello by Matteo Gofriller (1722) kindly on loan from MERITO String Instruments Trusts Vienna


This biography is to be reproduced without any changes, omissions or additions, unless expressly authorized by artist management.

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Horari oficina

De dimarts a dissabte de 10.00 a 13.30h

Dijous de 16.30 a 19.00

Per a reservar i comprar entrades el mateix dia del concert, de 20.30 a 22.00h