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Duke Arts Presents

Belcea Quartet

Saturday, October 23, 2021 | 8:00 pm

Chamber Arts Series

Baldwin Auditorium

Duke Performances Chamber Arts Series subscriptions are now on sale. Single tickets, including $10 Duke student tickets, go on sale Tuesday, August 31 at 11 AM.


Longtime audience favorites at Duke Performances, the Belcea Quartet return with a program that places the cello front and center. Mozart’s String Quartet No. 23 was written toward the end of his life, when, heavily in debt, he was commissioned to write three quartets for the King of Prussia, himself an amateur cellist. As a result, the cello is given expansive, cantabile melodies throughout. This is also the case in Shostakovich’s Quartet No. 14, written in tribute to the Beethoven Quartet’s cellist, Sergei Shirinsky. Listen out for the continually recurring motif, which becomes part of the lively dance movement. In Shostakovich’s signature style, the piece cleverly “spells” out the cellist’s name in notes that sound in Cyrillic pronunciation like ‘Serezha’ — the friendly form of the name ‘Sergei’. The Belceas conclude with Brahms’ String Quartet No. 1 in C Minor, op. 51; in 2016, their recording of the piece won them the prestigious Diapason d’Or de l’Année.

— Freya Parr


Current Duke Performances COVID-19 regulations


Mozart: String Quartet No. 23 in F Major K. 590
Shostakovich: String Quartet No. 14
Brahms: String Quartet, op. 51, no. 1

Anton Webern, Langsamer Satz, Belcea Quartet

"How is it possible for a single chord in E flat major to have such an effect? The moment begins before the sound is heard, in a breath and a thought."

The Times