Artist Interview: Belcea Quartet – Philadelphia Chamber Music Weblog

The London-based Belcea Quartet is celebrating its 25th yr as a quartet this season. They’ve made the Beethoven quartets a central a part of their customary repertoire, full with a field set recording of the composer’s full cycle. On two consecutive evenings this month, they’ll provide works from throughout Beethoven’s total output. We spoke with Krzysztof Chorzelski, the quartet’s founding violist, about Beethoven’s affect on the quartet, the dynamics of the group, and his side-life as a marathoner.

Erik Petersons: Having carried out and recorded all of Beethoven’s quartets, how would you describe the affect of his music on the ensemble and what was your first expertise along with his works?

Krzysztof Chorzelski: For us, Beethoven is an all-consuming ardour. He’s the prime purpose why we’re a string quartet. For every certainly one of us, listening to a Beethoven quartet for the primary time was a turning level. These days, a few years later, we alternate strikingly related tales about how we sleepwalked by way of our teenage lives bingeing on Beethoven in our headphones (We’re, in any case, the “Walkman” era).

I bear in mind discovering the Op. 131 for the primary time within the Alban Berg Quartet’s EMI recording. It felt to me so human, so sorrowful, weird, tender, and heroic, that listening to it grew to become essentially the most highly effective contemplation of human life for me. A few years later I found from Antoine, our cellist, that listening to this exact same piece is what gave him the crucial to sooner or later develop into a string quartet participant.

The primary time we carried out and recorded Beethoven’s full string quartet cycle was eight years in the past, and I bear in mind the kind of dizziness we felt when the season was drawing to an in depth. I don’t know if there may be any precise parallel nevertheless it appears to me, from what I’ve learn, {that a} related feeling accompanies alpinists scaling the Himalayan heights: a way of profound self-discovery arising from overcoming a titanic problem that mixes with the breathtaking surroundings and the rarefied air right into a kind of ecstasy. It’s no surprise that since then we couldn’t wait to repeat this expertise.

EP: You’re performing the whole Beethoven cycle with Quatuor Ébène this spring. What’s your relationship with them and what impressed this collaboration?

KC: The Quatuor Ebène are an ensemble we admire drastically. Their abilities and abilities span so many musical worlds, from the classical repertoire by way of jazz to improvisation, and we really feel that this range feeds into their interpretations in a really convincing and compelling means. They’re our perfect companions to share a Beethoven quartet cycle with. They’re additionally our mates. On just a few events we even “loaned” one another a quartet member to switch somebody who was indisposed—and with an excellent end result! In two years’ time we’ll tour with them taking part in two of the best string octets—by Mendelssohn and Enescu—a mission we’ve got been planning collectively for a very long time now! (What a disgrace that we aren’t going to be in Philadelphia similtaneously them…)

EP: As orchestral gamers, what dynamic do Axel Schacher and Antoine Lederlin convey to the quartet?

KC: I’m not positive whether or not the truth that Axel and Antoine are additionally orchestral musicians has an affect on our taking part in. They definitely do convey very particular qualities to our quartet, however I believe that this has extra to do with their musical background, which may be very totally different from Corina’s and mine. From the start of our work along with Antoine, and later, with Axel, I noticed how far more meticulous our rehearsals grew to become with reference to the standard of our sound and the number of color and expression. Corina and myself are hot-blooded Jap Europeans—our taking part in is pushed by the depth of our temperaments. I feel that it’s our French colleagues who add a palette of shades and hues to what would in any other case be a really expressive etching, however maybe one in monochrome…

EP: That is your twenty-fifth yr as a quartet. How has the group developed and what are a few of your objectives shifting ahead?

KC: The group is evolving on a regular basis. Each rehearsal brings with it new questions, which frequently solid doubt on the previous solutions… and that is maybe what we love essentially the most about our work. I feel that we’re serving to one another to come back nearer to the greatness of the music that we play. Lengthy could this proceed!

And to be a bit extra particular, I’ve a sense that our work now’s an increasing number of centered on understanding higher how the music we play is constructed, on making an attempt to get extra into the composer’s thoughts—I imagine that this leads us to hitherto unexplored riches (particularly when the composer we play occurs to be Beethoven!).

EP: Alongside your profession with the Belcea Quartet, you’re a marathoner. Inform us about your expertise and what motivated your curiosity on this space?

KC: I took up operating in my thirties. It quickly grew to become my favorite pastime on tour, which may be very shocking as I had by no means beforehand been a eager athlete. I feel that what drew me to it was the quiet solitude and the give attention to a job that’s non-musical and non-cerebral. Then, just a few years in the past, the quartet determined to go on a six-month sabbatical. This felt like an ideal alternative to set myself a problem that might have been unachievable in the midst of my “regular life”. And that problem grew to become coaching for the London Marathon. Since then I ran it thrice and located it to be some of the exhilarating experiences of my life. I feel that I thrive on pushing myself as near my limits as attainable. In some way, I really feel that this sort of a problem will not be very distant from the spirit of Beethoven’s music…

The Belcea Quartet seems through the Society’s all-Beethoven string quartet cycle, Tuesday, March 17 and Wednesday, March 18, on the Kimmel Middle’s Perelman Theater.


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