Update on June 11 American String Quartet program: Simms Auditorium, Albuquerque Academy, 4 p.m.
The American String Quartet are performing the Beethoven Op. 18/6, not the Op. 95 as stated in the published interview with violist Daniel Avshalomov.
Comments in an email today from Avshalomov:
“The Quartet in Bb Major, Op. 18 no. 6 is the last of Beethoven’s so-called ‘early’ quartets, completed circa 1800.
“Of those six it is by far the most advanced (and my favorite as well). Its first movement tempo is the poster child for the arguments concerning the composer’s metronome markings. At whole-note = 80, it is unplayably fast; those groups who have attempted that speed have invariably produced caffeine nightmares.
“We try to reproduce that energy at a slightly slower tempo – one in which all the notes can be heard.
“That controversy, however, is not the most important feature of the work. The finale, marked ‘La Malinconia,’ is both a musical and emotional wonder. In it, Beethoven expresses his fear of an illness – not mere melancholy, but a chronic depression into which people were known to fall, sinking ever deeper until they gave up life.”