Lera Auerbach: String quartet no. 9 premieres in Leipzig

Following the Gewandhaus Leipzig’s decision to resume its concert schedule on 7 June 2020 in a restricted form, it is to present chamber music concerts and chamber orchestra concerts for a maximum of 80 listeners each on the weekends between 7 June and 21 July within the framework of its ‘Summer Festival 2020’. The world premiere of Lera Auerbach’s String Quartet No. 9, which was to have taken place on 19 April 2020, can now actually be performed. The Artemis Quartet will give the world premiere on June 21, 2020, in two successive concerts.

Lera Auerbach had dedicated her String Quartet No. 9 to the 2020 Ludwig van Beethoven anniversary year. The composer has based her work on the 3rd movement of Beethoven’s 15th String Quartet in A minor, op. 132, which bears the inscription “Heiliger Dankgesang eines Genesenen an die Gottheit in der lydischen Tonart (Holy Thanksgiving of a convalescent to the deity in the Lydian key)”. In this movement, Beethoven clearly wished to express his gratitude for overcoming an illness. In the individual sections of her string quartet, the composer alternately has one string instrument play the original Beethoven part, while the other three parts have been freely composed for this purpose.

Lera Auerbach writing about her String Quartet no. 9 “Danksagung” (Thanksgiving):

“(…) Beethoven’s structure A-B-A1-B1-A2, in which the contemplative slow A sections are marked Adagio molto and the B sections marked Andante have more dance-like energy as if from ‘regained strength’, has been preserved. The work is framed by an additional short prelude and a postlude, in which no original Beethoven material has been incorporated. The parts progressions of Beethoven’s Op. 132 should not be played differently to the other three parts. They will be treated as organic and integral parts of the new quartet. Whether or not the audience recognizes their origin is irrelevant to the listening experience. Perhaps audiences and performers should consider this work as a new string quartet of the 21st century, in which Beethoven’s structures and the individual part progressions are recontextualized faithfully within the framework of a new original composition with interpretational and technical variables.”

UA Lera Auerbach
String quartet no. 9 ” Thanksgiving ”

Artemis Quartet (commissioned by the Gewandhaus Orchestra, Wigmore Hall London, Wiener Konzerthausgesellschaft, The Carnegie Hall Corporation and Tonhalle-Gesellschaft Zurich)

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