Between Heaven and Earth - String Quartet Biennale Amsterdam & Cappella Amsterdam

In this concert Cuarteto Quiroga and Cappella Amsterdam are suspended between the heaven of Schönberg and the hell of José Maria Sánchez-Verdú. The Spanish composer drew his inspiration for La porte de l’enfer – specially composed for this concert – from Auguste Rodin’s eponymous, colossal sculpture and poetry from the Second World War. The result is an imposing work for large choir and string quartet, a rare combination.

Schönberg’s second string quartet is one of the most significant works in the history of music. With this work Schönberg cast aside tonality – the musical language used for composing up until that point – and introduced a new language: atonality. The difference can clearly be heard in his second string quartet. The first three movements are still tonally composed; they have a specific key, which feels like firm ground under one’s feet. In the fourth movement the solid base of tonality suddenly vanishes. It is as if the music glides weightlessly through space, with a serene tranquillity. This also explains the first words of the soprano, who only sings in the third and fourth movements: ‘Ich fühle Luft von anderem Planeten‘ – ‘I feel the air from other planets.’

Cappella Amsterdam, choir
Daniel Reuss, conductor

Cuarteto Quiroga: 

Aitor Hevia, violin
Cibrán Sierra Vázquez, violin
Josep Puchades, viola
Helena Poggio, cello

Katharine Dain, soprano

José Maria Sánchez-Verdú La porte de l’enfer (world première)
Pierre de la Rue Lamentations
Arnold Schönberg String Quartet no. 2



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