Late Beethoven and the Dry Cardrona

Helene Pohl, Monique Lapins, Gillian Ansell and Rolf Gjelsten will be joined by percussionist Naoto Segawa and narrator Katherine Baxter for this groundbreaking performance.

Performing at the Festival of Colour’s Pacific Crystal Palace stage on April 13, the New Zealand String Quartet will celebrate the partnership of music and poetry with the world premiere of ‘By the Dry Cardrona’, composed by Barton Price.

Helene Pohl (1st violin), Monique Lapins (2nd violin), Gillian Ansell (viola), Rolf Gjelsten (cello) will be joined by percussionist Naoto Segawa and narrator Katherine Baxter for this groundbreaking performance. 

Since 1987, the New Zealand String Quartet has been New Zealand’s leading chamber ensemble, with a distinguished record of international touring success and a body of acclaimed recordings. 

The group perform an extensive discography in over eighty concerts each year, with career highlights including highly-praised performances at London’s Wigmore Hall, the prestigious Frick Collection in New York and in Washington’s Library of Congress. 

Price’s piece is inspired by a poem of the same name, written by James K. Baxter in 1956. Barton creates a musical atmosphere which is pensive and trance-like - reflecting the nature of the poem which contemplates the hardships of the poet’s early life. This piece gives the listener the opportunity to be taken into a world which magically merges poetry and music while thinking of the mountainous landscape of Cardrona in the Otago region. 

Asked what connected this contemporary work to late Beethoven, the quartet said that, despite the gap both historically and geographically, they felt “a connection in the hardships expressed both through the poetic inspiration of Baxter and the hardships Beethoven endured in his life.”

“Beethoven’s op. 130 String Quartet - with the Grosse Fuge and alternate Finale ending - were written at the end of his life and during a time of serious personal struggle.”

“In this quartet, Beethoven was able to embrace his struggles and create music full of both profoundly moving and intensely radical and heroic emotion. This quartet is groundbreaking - even almost 200 years later!”

The quartet are excited to return to Wānaka and the Festival of Colour, where they have previously performed in a unique collaboration with the Wellington International Ukulele Orchestra. 

Read edition 1019 of the Wānaka Sun here.

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