But Beethoven pushed the boundaries of the form, playing with rhythm and movement and an expanded range.
The Chatter Quartet will perform the composer’s String Quartet 18, No. 4 on Sunday, Dec. 8, at the Las Puertas Event Center. The musicians include David Felberg and Meg Holland on violin, Kim Fredenburgh on the viola and James Holland on cello.
The program is the next installment in Chatter’s continuing year-and-a-half exploration of its string quartet project anticipating the composer’s 250th anniversary in 2020, Felberg said.
This time the cycle lands on an earlier work composed when Beethoven was 30.
“It’s when he had more compositional chops under his fingers,” Felberg said. “He starts to break rules early in the string quartets. All folks knew of the string quartet was Haydn and Mozart.”
Cast in four movements, the moody and driving outer movements frame the inner gentle, more playful parts.
“Beethoven brought a real level of emotional depth and newness no one had seen before,” Felberg continued. “It’s the only (early one) in a minor key, so it brings a sense of drama and intensity.”
In addition to the Beethoven salute, the musicians also will play a contemporary piece by British composer Thomas Adés. “Arcadiana” was written in 1994.
The piece consists of seven short movements, most of which are idylls (descriptive music of pastoral life), the odd movements being aquatic in nature.
“Thomas Adés is an incredible composer,” Felberg said. “His opera just premiered at the Met.
“When you listen to his music it’s like you’re listening to familiar things presented in a new way.”
Renato Rosaldo will provide a spoken word performance.