World War II, which in Europe began in 1939 and ended in 1945, was the single most devastating event of the 20th century. Framed by the string quartets of Benjamin Britten, whose centennial was celebrated in 2013, this series will explore works that reflect the broader European experience of the war years, as well as the period immediately before the war (Concert One) and after the war (Concert Four). Along with Britten’s superb quartets, the series will feature some of the most important string quartets composed during the 20th century, including quartets by the Czech composer Pavel Haas (who perished in Auschwitz-Birkenau in 1944), Béla Bartók, William Walton and Dmitri Shostakovich.
—Robert Greenberg, Ph.D.
Bartók: String Quartet No. 6 (1939)
Britten: String Quartet No. 1 (1941)
Renowned musicologist, author and composer Robert Greenberg provides commentary throughout this concert.