A new job, a new wife, a newfound popular acclaim.
It was 1837, and things were going well for Felix Mendelssohn, who had just begun work on his celebrated Opus 44 quartets. The following year, the young composer’s high spirits would find perfect expression in the exuberant Quartet in D Major, completed just weeks after the birth of Mendelssohn’s son.
At 7 p.m. Sunday, April 22, the Calidore String Quartet, one of the most acclaimed and sought-after chamber ensembles of its generation, will perform the Quartet in D Major, along with works by Dmitri Shostakovich and Ludwig van Beethoven, as part of the Great Artists Series at Washington University in St. Louis.
Presented by the Department of Music in Arts & Sciences, the performance will take place in the E. Desmond Lee Concert Hall. Tickets are $40, or $32 for seniors and Washington University faculty and staff, and $15 for students and children.
Tickets are available through the Edison Theatre Box Office, 314-935-6543, or at edison.wustl.edu.
The performance will open with Mendelssohn’s Quartet in D Major, followed by Shostakovich’s Quartet No. 9 in E-flat Major, Op. 117. The latter piece, completed in 1964, was Shostakovich’s second version of the Ninth Quartet. The first was completed in 1961 but, in a fit of depression, the composer burnt the manuscript in a stove. The second version, which fortunately escaped the flames, was dedicated to Shostakovich’s third wife, Irina Antonovna, whom he married in 1962.
Following intermission, the program will conclude with Beethoven’s Quartet in F Major, Op. 59, No. 1. Commissioned by a Russian nobleman, Count Andrey Razumovsky, the quartet is now considered one of Beethoven’s greatest chamber works, though its length and notorious technical demands initially sparked controversy.
“Surely you do not consider this music,” the violinist Felix Radicati is said to have complained. To which Beethoven replied: “Not for you, but for a later age.”
Calidore String Quartet
Praised by the Los Angeles Times for its “remarkable … precision of expression” and “understated but relentless intensity,” the Calidore String Quartet was formed in 2010 by violinists Jeffrey Myers and Ryan Meehan, violist Jeremy Berry and cellist Estelle Choi.
The group takes its name from an amalgamation of “California” and “doré,” French for “golden” — a combination that suggests both a reverence for its home state and a commitment to cultural diversity.
Described by Gramophone as “the epitome of confidence and finesse,” Calidore has performed throughout North America, Europe and Asia, at venues including Carnegie Hall, Wigmore Hall, Lincoln Center and Seoul’s Kumho Art Hall. The group has collaborated with artists and ensembles such as Jean-Yves Thibaudet, Joshua Bell and the Quatuor Ebéne, among many others.
In 2016, Calidore won top honors at the inaugural M-Prize International Chamber Music Competition, the largest prize for chamber music in the world. Other honors include the 2017 Lincoln Center Emerging Artist Award and grand prizes in the Fischoff, Coleman, Chesapeake and Yellow Springs competitions.
The quartet’s performances have been broadcast on the BBC, National Public Radio and national television in Canada, Korea and Germany. Recordings include quartets by Mendelssohn and Haydn and an album commemorating the World War I centennial, with music of Hindemith, Milhaud, Stravinsky, de La Presle and Toch.
About the series
Now in its second season, the Great Artists Series presents intimate recitals with some of the brightest stars in contemporary classical music. The series’ third season lineup will be announced April 22, immediately prior to Calidore’s performance.
The E. Desmond Lee Concert Hall is located in the 560 Music Center, 560 Trinity Ave., at the intersection with Delmar Boulevard. For more information, call 314-935-5566 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.