Beethoven wrote 16 string quartets which were graced with opus numbers. At this year’s La Jolla Music Society Summerfest, you can hear nine of them.
As I mentioned in previous writings, expect a lot of Beethoven between now and December of 2020. Beethoven was baptized on December 17, 1770, which makes 2020 his 250th birthday.
The first Beethoven quartet concert at Summerfest is on Friday, August 8, at the brand new Conrad Prebys Performing Arts Center in La Jolla. Be careful if you are using Google Maps. There is another Conrad Prebys Performing Arts Center in La Jolla on the campus of UC San Diego. You want the one on Fay Ave.
The August 8 concert is performed by the Brentano Quartet and includes Beethoven’s String Quartet Op. 18, No. 5, String Quartet Op. 95 “Serioso”, and String Quartet Op. 127. In case it’s not apparent that’s an early, a middle, and a late quartet. All three concerts follow this early, middle, late format.
The Op. 127 is the first of the official late quartets which comprise Beethoven’s final six quartets. The late quartets are generally considered some of the greatest compositions of all time.
The second concert of Beethoven Quartets is Saturday, August 10. This performance will be given by The Miró Quartet. The three Beethoven quartets are String Quartet Op. 18 No. 4, String Quartet Op. 135, and string Quartet Op. 59.
The third and final concert is with The Ehnes Quartet on Friday, August 16 with String Quartet Op. 18 No. 6, String Quartet Op. 74 “Harp”, and String Quartet Op. 132.
The official title of the series is Beethoven Complete String Quartets but there are only nine of the 16 being performed. My guess is that the remaining 7 will be performed during the 2020 Summerfest. Let it be understood that The La Jolla Music Society is much more than these three concerts but it is my opinion that these are the core concerts of the 20-day festival.
Two events of particular interest are on August 14 and August 22. Both events are free to the public but an RSVP for tickets is required. The August 14 concert features music by Chopin, Schumann, and Dvorak while August 22 is an open invitation to come dance with the Mark Morris Dance Group. Lessons will be provided.
There is a smattering of open rehearsals which the public may attend free of charge. For a complete schedule visit the website.