The program brings together three virtuosic and beautiful works for string quartet. It opens with one of Boccherini’s miniature string quartets from his Op. 26. Although the composer numbered these quartets among his ‘opera piccola’ (small quartets), he makes clear though that he did not intend the quartets to be taken less seriously than the longer-form quartets: “it is all cloth of the same piece”, he remarked to his publisher. His palette of sound ranges from sweet, cantabile melodies to Spanish folk material, which betrays their origin as music composed for the Infante Don Luis at his court near Madrid.
The program also includes Mozart’s beautiful and dark D minor string quartet. The work is one of his most famous and loved quartets. It is the second of a set of six quartets he dedicated to Haydn. Mozart wrote a touching letter to Haydn dedicating the works.
“To my dear friend Haydn,
A father who had resolved to send his children out into the great world took it to be his duty to confide them to the protection and guidance of a very celebrated Man, especially when the latter by good fortune was at the same time his best Friend. Here they are then, O great Man and dearest Friend, these six children of mine…”.
The program concludes with one of Haydn’s indisputable works of genius, the string quartet Op. 76 No. 4 - The Sunrise. Although it was not nicknamed by Haydn himself, the opening bars of the quartet clearly evoke the image of daybreak.