Beethoven: String Quartet in G major, Op. 18, No. 2
Schnittke: String Quartet No. 3
Beethoven: String Quartet in B-flat major, Op. 130, with the Grosse Fuge finale
The lauded Danish String Quartet’s exciting return to the CMSD marks the beginning of our celebration of the Ludwig van Beethoven’s 250th anniversary year. They have chosen to juxtapose an early Op. 18 quartet with the late Op. 130 quartet in B-flat major with its extraordinary, boldly original finale, the Grosse Fuge. Between these two works, Alfred Schnittke’s third string quartet from 1983 provides an illuminating context to Beethoven’s genius: Schnittke based his masterful final quartet on the Grosse Fuge. The Grosse Fuge, famously reviled by critics in Beethoven’s time, has come to be considered one of Beethoven’s greatest achievements. Igor Stravinsky called it “an absolutely contemporary piece of music that will be contemporary forever."
Here is a profile of the Danish String Quartet, told as you’ve never heard it – by its members.
“As a string quartet, we find ourselves at the core of the classical music world. On a daily basis, we delve into works by great masters such as Beethoven and Mozart, but we also play the occasional folk music gig. Over the years we have been fortunate to study in many different places, in masterclasses with renowned teachers and have had opportunities to perform in major concert halls across the world. We have participated in competitions and made some recordings as well. If you want to know more about all this conventional stuff, check out the ‘press‘ page on our site, where you can download a substantial PDF full of information and wisdom.
Here’s a simpler story of the quartet: We are three Danes and one Norwegian cellist, making this a truly Scandinavian endeavor. Being relatively bearded, we are often compared to the Vikings. However, we are only pillaging the English coastline occasionally.
The three of us, the Danes, met very early in our lives in the Danish countryside at a summer camp for enthusiastic amateur musicians. Not yet teenagers, we were the youngest players, so we hung out all the time playing football and chamber music together… Quickly we became best friends and we still are. In 2001, professor Tim Frederiksen of The Royal Danish Academy of Music in Copenhagen got in touch with us and started coaching us on a regular basis … All of the sudden, at the ages of 15 and 16, we were a serious string quartet, practicing intonation and stuff. It all happened so fast that none of us seemed to notice the transition.
Time passed and we grew up. Grew beards. In 2008 Norwegian cellist Fredrik joined in. He looked like a character from Game of Thrones, and we thought he was a perfect match. During his free time, Fredrik can be found fixing or sailing his OE32 sailboat somewhere in Scandinavia. Other interests of the group include vintage cars, cooking, gaming, reading, playing, talking, scuba diving, playing tennis, and being dads of babies and toddlers. Yes, playing string quartets is our job, and yes it is hard work, but we mostly do it for pleasure, like we always did. Music is a way to hang out with friends, and we hope we can continue to hang out for many, many years.”
Rune, Asbjørn, Fredrik and Frederik