Back to the classics for DaPonte
Thomaston — The DaPonte String Quartet returns to the classics with its next program — Vienna, Vienna — inspired by the city whose name is synonymous with the greatest in classical music. The concert series, opening Thursday, May 15, at 7:30 p.m. at the Episcopal Church of St. John Baptist, 200 Main St./Route 1, features string quartets by Mozart, Mendelssohn and Beethoven.
Mozart’s “Spring Quartet” is an appropriate way to welcome the onset of warm weather in Maine. Composed in Vienna, the quartet is the first of the so-called Haydn Quartets that Mozart wrote in honor of Joseph Haydn, widely considered the father of the string quartet form. Haydn was deeply impressed by the young composer’s quartets.
Felix Mendelssohn was a German whose early works were greatly influenced by another German composer closely associated with Vienna, Ludwig van Beethoven. Mendelssohn’s String Quartet in A Minor Op. 13 was written when he was only 18 but already an experienced composer of chamber music. While remaining a richly romantic work, it clearly reflects his fascination with Beethoven’s late quartets.
Beethoven wrote the String Quartet No. 10 in E-flat Major during his middle period, while living in Vienna. Nicknamed “The Harp,” it is a lavish and sensuous work that approaches perfection as a string quartet. The nickname derives from an elegant and impressionistic pizzicato section that creates a sound like the plucking of a harp.
The DaPonte String Quartet moved to Maine in 1992 on a rural arts grant from Chamber Music America and the National Endowment for the Arts. DaPonte performs more than 40 concerts a year, from Presque Isle to Ogunquit. Vienna, Vienna also will be performed Friday, May 16, at 7:30 p.m. at Damariscotta’s Lincoln Theater; Saturday, May 17, at 7:30 p.m. at Portland Public Library; and Sunday, May 18, at 3 p.m. at Topsham’s Mid-Coast Presbyterian Church. Tickets are $20, available online at DaPonte.org or by calling 529-4555.
Courier Publications’ A&E Editor Dagney C. Ernest can be reached at (207) 594-4401, ext. 115; or firstname.lastname@example.org.