What do you get when you put three Danes and a Norwegian together? A “truly Scandinavian endeavor”. For the last 10 years, The Danish Quartet has wowed audiences with their refreshing approach to repertoire classics all over Europe and are now coming to Toronto for the very first time. As part of the Toronto Summer Music’s artist line- up, Rune, Asbjørn, Fredrik and Frederik, will bring a ” rewarding and unusual program to the Festival”. Performing works by Beethoven, Carl Nielsen and Thomas Adès, these four gents will cover 200 years of exceptional music with their own Danish flare of course.
MC: What do you enjoy most about summer festival performances?
TDSQ: Somehow concerts during summer festivals always feel like one-of-a-kind events. The audience is removed from the daily grind and even though the musicians aren’t exactly on vacation, they are certainly in a different mindset during the summer than some random Tuesday in November. It gives the summer festival performances a certain ‘glimmer’ that serves the music well.
MC: Please share more about your repertoire selection for the Toronto Summer Music Festival.
TDSQ: The repertoire for this concert is quite interesting: The first string quartets by national Danish composer Carl Nielsen, the English ‘Mozart of the future’ Thomas Adés and German juggernaut Beethoven. For composers, the string quartet – together with the symphony – has always been a very important medium to excel in. And the way these three composers go about it is very different and interesting. Beethoven’s first string quartet is a perfectly formed classical quartet, but it has plenty of inventions, hinting how far Beethoven would push the medium later in life. The young Carl Nielsen stands on the shoulders of Johannes Brahms. Maybe he shows more courage than skill, but his first string quartet is nonetheless a convincing, exciting and moving piece of music. Adés at 23 years shows more skill than Nielsen and even Beethoven. He creates an imaginative soundscape with lines from several other composers and art forms.
It is incredible to hear how different a string quartet can sound, and it is interesting to see how much things have changed over the last 200 years and how different these three young composers present themselves with their first string quartets. What hasn’t changed is the direct emotional impact of the music that is so present in all these pieces of music.
MC: What composer’s works do all four of you enjoy playing the most?
TDSQ: We all possess pretty eclectic music tastes and we enjoy playing many things: simple folk tunes, Ligeti, late Beethoven, loaded romantic music. What is nice about being a string quartet is that we have so much good music to choose from. We plan to continue playing string quartets for a long time and we won’t run out of good music for a while.
The Danish String Quartet will perform on Tuesday August 4th at 7:30 PM
Tickets are on sale by visiting torontosummermusic.com