Repertory list for 2020-21


Master list of pieces offered: 

Bartok:  Quartet No. 5

Beethoven:  Quartet in f minor, Op. 95

Beethoven:  Quartet in Eb-Major, Op. 127

Brahms:  Quartet in A-minor Op. 51 No. 2

Haydn:  Quartet in D-Major, Op. 17, No. 6

Mendelssohn Quartet in f minor, Op. 80

Mendelssohn:  from Op. 81

  Tema con Variazioni: Andante Sostenuto

  Scherzo: Allegro leggier

Schumann:  Quartet in A Major Op. 41 No. 3

Shostakovich Quartet No. 11 in f minor, Op. 122

Specific Programs:

Program 1: 

Mendelssohn:  from Op. 81
  Tema con Variazioni: Andante Sostenuto
  Scherzo: Allegro leggiero

Schumann:  Quartet in A Major Op. 41 No. 3
Brahms:  Quartet in A-minor Op. 51 No. 2



Program 2:  “The Dark, Coiled Intensity of f Minor”

Bach Prelude in f minor from Book 2 of the Well-Tempered Clavier

Beethoven Quartet in f minor, Op. 95

Bruce Adolphe Coiled (inspired by Beethoven’s Op. 95) (2017)

Shostakovich Quartet No. 11 in f minor

Mendelssohn Quartet in f minor, Op. 80


The program starts with a Bach Prelude that introduces f minor as a key that admits little light, closed in and dense. In Op. 95 (“Serioso”), Beethoven wrote a work that is compact and brutal. When the Brentano Quartet approached Bruce Adolphe to write a work inspired by the Beethoven he answered immediately: “Opus 95: so many nuggets of genius: the unhinged rhythmic knots, the scales off the cliff's edge, the muttering, the gnashing of molars!” The result is his new work, “Coiled,” written for this program. That coiled intensity also informs Shostakovich’s Eleventh Quartet in f minor (Beethoven’s f minor is also his eleventh), that compressed, eloquent masterpiece. And it is no coincidence that Mendelssohn’s final quartet, written in the anguished aftermath of his beloved sister’s death, refers in key and affect directly to this seminal Beethoven work.

Program 3:  “The Musical World of Bartok’s Quartet No. 5”

The Fifth Quartet of Bela Bartok, a compelling and magnificent work, has a number of special characteristic preoccupations which give it a distinct and riveting personality. This program serves as a focus on that great work by creating a context for several of those preoccupations through the music of Bach, Beethoven, Haydn, Purcell, Berio, and Bartok himself. 


These short (2-5 min) selections, performed as the concert’s first half, will help illustrate music canons (“Chases and Reflections”), ethnic idioms (“Hungarian and Bulgarian Rhythms”), and obsession (“Fixation on a Single Note”).  Following this immersive investigation (and intermission for reflection!), Bartok’s  Quartet No. 5 stands poised to be heard in a new space, with clarity and immediacy.

Chases and Reflections
Béla Bartók from 44 Duos for 2 violins:   Burlesque
J.S. Bach from the Musical Offering:   Quaerendo invenietis, canon a 2
J.S. Bach from the Art of Fugue:   Contrapunctus VII
Béla Bartók from Mikrokosmos:   #113: Subject and Reflection
Henry Purcell:   Fantasia No. 11
Béla Bartók from 44 Duos for 2 violins:   Mosquito Dance

Hungarian and Bulgarian Rhythms
Joseph Haydn from Quartet in D Major, Op. 20 No. 4:   Allegretto alla zingarese
Béla Bartók from 44 Duos for 2 violins:   Marching Song (2);  Fairy Tale
     from Mikrokosmos:    #141 Bulgarian Rhythm

Obsessions and Pulsations: Fixation on a Single Note
Luciano Berio from Duetti per 2 violini:   Yossi
Ludwig van Beethoven from Quartet in F Major, Op. 59 No. 1:    Allegretto vivace e sempre scherzando
Béla Bartók:  Quartet No. 5



with soprano Dawn Upshaw


Collaboration No 1: 

Schoenberg String Quartet No. 2 and Respighi Il tramonto (plus 1-2 string quartets from the above list)


Collaboration No. 2: (Available beginning Feb 2021) 

The Brentano Quartet is excited to embark on a collaboration with soprano Dawn Upshaw, composer Melinda Wagner, and librettist Stephanie Fleischmann.  “The Dido Project will feature a first half of early English songs and consort music from the Renaissance and Baroque eras, culminating in Purcell’s Dido’s Lament. The second half then imagines Dido into our modern age in a newly commissioned monodrama for soprano and quartet by Melinda Wagner and Stephanie Fleischmann.



Please contact our office to discuss you program preference, and for more details regarding “The Dido Project” mentioned above.