ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Feelings of passionate love link Ludwig van Beethoven’s String Quartet No. 1 in F major and Franz Schubert’s String Quartet No. 14 in D minor nicknamed “Death and the Maiden.”
Violist Willy Sucre said those linked feelings pervade the second movements of the two quartets.
Those two movements are some of the most passionate music in the string quartet literature, Sucre said.
Apart from that linkage, the second movement of the Schubert carries additional, though funereal, weight: The whole quartet is named for the theme of the second movement.
Schubert, Sucre said, called his quartet “Death and the Maiden” because he borrowed a tune from one of his songs of the same name.
Schubert composed the quartet after dealing with a serious illness and came to realize he was dying. Schubert died four years later, in 1828, at age 31.
The piece has become one of the keystones of the string quartet repertoire.
The Beethoven quartet was composed second chronologically, but it is identified as the first of his string quartets “because of its fullness, its seriousness. It’s such a well-written quartet and it’s still written in the style of Haydn and Mozart,” Sucre said. “Beethoven was so respectful of them.”
Willy Sucre and Friends will play both works Sept. 24 in the season-opening concert of the Placitas Artists Series. The ensemble will repeat the program Sept. 25 at New Mexico Tech in Socorro.
Sucre’s friends in the concerts are violinists Justin Pollak and LP How and cellist Felix Fan. The Placitas concert will be Fan’s first time playing with Willy Sucre and Friends.
“These days, I don’t get to play classical music very often. When I do get the opportunities, I look forward to it,” Fan said in a phone interview from his Santa Fe home. “I play mostly new music.”
He is a member of the new-music group FLUX, which frequently plays at the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival.
These are the other concerts in the Placitas Artists Series:
Oct. 22 – Classical guitarist Antigoni Goni
Nov. 12 – Willy Sucre and Friends the West Shore Piano Trio
Dec. 3 – Sol y Canto
Jan. 28 – Willy Sucre and Friends Qtango
Feb. 25 – Merling Piano Trio
March 25 – Willy Sucre and Friends Play Oboe Quartets
April 22 – Pianist Haochen Zhang
May 20 – Willy Sucre and Friends Play Quintets