Schubert transformed despair over his failing health to inspiration in composing one of his best-loved works, his String Quartet no. 14, “Death and the Maiden”. From 1824, Schubert fervently dedicated himself to his art and returned to composing string quartets, writing his “Rosamunde” and “Death and the Maiden” quartets in quick succession. The latter weaves together a rare combination of drive, drama, intimacy, and power. Schubert uses his own song (of the same title) to manifest a piece that is similarly epic in scope and proportion to the late quartets of Beethoven. Schubert’s reputation continued to grow even as his health declined, and although “Death and the Maiden” was not published until after his death, it has gone on to become one of the most important works in the string quartet canon.
Barber’s only string quartet is also recognized as a significant contribution to the chamber music genre, principally for the well-known second Adagio movement. The Adagio, in its original form and numerous arrangements, is heard not only in the concert hall but throughout much of popular culture. It is often referred to as our nation’s unofficial anthem of mourning. We perform these two powerful and cathartic works to console and offer hope as we emerge from a turbulent and challenging period in history.
—The Calidore String Quartet
Performances are available to watch for one week after their premiere.