Saturday, March 14, 2020

Will NEQ Conclude Season Next Month?

Poster design for final NEQ season concert (courtesy of NEQ)

[3/15, 7:10 a.m.: Late yesterday afternoon the New Esterházy Quartet decided that they would cancel the final concert of their season.]

Given that cancellations due to COVID-19 are beginning to extend into next month, it is worth asking whether or not the New Esterházy Quartet (NEQ) will be able to conclude their thirteenth season as planned. Going strictly by the numbers, it would appear that the settings in which they perform, particularly in San Francisco, are likely to be low-risk. Nevertheless, even when the risk is low, I can appreciate that many are inclined to spend as much time at home as can be realistically managed.

That said, it is worth mentioning that NEQ has prepared an intriguing offering to wrap up their season. The title of the program is Quartet Debuts, and it will consist of the earliest string quartets written by the four composers that are generally grouped together as the “First Viennese School.” Those composers and their respective “first efforts” into the string quartet genre are as follows (in chronological order):
  1. Joseph Haydn: Hoboken III/2 in E-flat major (1762)
  2. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: K. 80/73f (“Lodi”) in G major (1770)
  3. Ludwig van Beethoven: Opus 18, Number 3 in D major (1798–9)
  4. Franz Schubert: D. 18 in mixed keys (probably composed in 1810)
According to the latest announcement, these quartets will not necessarily be played in the order in which they were composed.

The San Francisco performance of this program will take place on Saturday, April 4, at 4 p.m. As usual, the venue will be St. Mark’s Lutheran Church, which is located at 1111 O’Farrell Street, just west of the corner of Franklin Street. General admission is $30. Seniors, the disabled, and members of the San Francisco Early Music Society will be admitted for $25; and there is a $10 rate for students with valid identification. Tickets may be purchased online through a Brown Paper Tickets Web page.

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