Next month the New Esterházy Quartet (NEQ), consisting of violinists Lisa Weiss and Kati Kyme, violist Anthony Martin, and cellist William Skeen, will continue their tenth season with the ninth “episode” in a series entitled Haydn and His Students. These programs usually involve coupling one of the string quartets by Joseph Haydn with one by his best-known student, Ludwig van Beethoven, and then adding a lesser-known student to the mix. In this case that latter student already had an established reputation before he met Haydn.
The student’s name was William Shield, and they met during Haydn’s first visit to London in 1791. (To put this in chronological context, Haydn first met Beethoven while passing through Bonn on his way to London in 1790. By the time Haydn returned from his London visit in 1792, Beethoven had moved to Vienna, where he became Haydn’s pupil.) Shield’s established reputation included serving as house composer at Covent Garden when he first met Haydn. The two of them traveled to the surrounding countryside together in June of 1791; and Shield would later say that, during those four days, he learned more than he had acquired by study in any previous four years of his life. Shield’s textbook, An Introduction to Harmony, published in 1800, calls Haydn “the Father of Modern Harmony.”
The NEQ program will begin with the Shield selection, a quartet in C major that he wrote in 1782 (i.e. prior to his meeting Haydn). Similarly, the Haydn quartet will be one written in 1788, before his trip to London. This will be Hoboken III/60, the first of the three Opus 55 quartets, the second set of three to be dedicated to Johann Tost, leader of the second violin section at Eszterháza. The program will conclude with the Beethoven selection, the second (in E minor) of the three Opus 59 (“Razumovsky”) quartets.
As usual, NEQ’s performance will take place on a Saturday afternoon, January 7, beginning at 4 p.m. Following the first concert of their season in the Chapel of the First Unitarian Universalist Society of San Francisco, they will return to their usual venue, St. Mark’s Lutheran Church, located at 1111 O’Farrell Street, just west of the corner of Franklin Street. General admission will be $30 with discounted prices of $10 for students with valid identification and $25 for seniors, the disabled, and members of the San Francisco Early Music Society. Tickets at all prices may be purchased through a Brown Paper Tickets event page. Telephone orders and further information may be obtained by calling 415-520-0611.