String Quartet No. 14, 1st movement
World-renowned soloists Isabel Charisius and her students explore the core fundamentals of being in a string quartet by learning how to communicate, trust, and understand each other as a team.
In addition, Isabel Charisius provokes her students by asking questions about the String Quartet No. 14, 1st movement, such as "What state of mind was Franz Schubert in, or in what kind of situation was he put through to inspire this piece?". Through exploring the struggle Schubert went through, the students improve their understanding of Schubert's intent for the piece.
Furthermore, the students work on vibrato, where and when not to do a crescendo, dynamic expression, building trust, and actively listening to other players.
Building trust amongst the players.
Balancing between the soloist and the accompaniments.
Understanding the piece's intent.
Comfortable bow direction.
Schubert’s fourteenth string quartet, known as “Death and the Maiden,” was composed in 1824, shortly after the composer experienced a prolonged illness. The work takes its name from the second movement, which borrows a theme from his own 1817 song “Der Tod und das Mädchen.” The piece was his first composition for string quartet since his teen years, and has become a staple in the chamber music repertoire. The first movement, Allegro, presents the extreme shifts in dynamics and underlying triplet motif that is prevalent throughout the entire work. The second movement, Andante con moto, is a solemn set of variations over the “Death and the Maiden” theme. The third movement, Scherzo Allegro molto, brings back the extreme contrasts. The fast-paced, dark character of the scherzo is briefly interrupted by a sunnier trio section. The finale, Presto, is a rapid tarantella in rondo form. Despite the chaos of the dance, Schubert manages to maintain a lyrical melody as well. The piece concludes with a dazzling Prestissimo with a rather dark D minor conclusion.
Aim for excellence! You can improve your skills with expert advice. Download the annotated sheet music of this music chamber masterclass. Please note that this piece has been annotated in accordance to Isabel Charisius’s feedback and comments.
The prize winners were selected by a jury comprising (Alban Berg Quartet), 1983 to mark the 50th anniversary of Banff Centre.
Isabel Charisius is one of the finest violists and chamber musicians of her generation. As a member of the legendary Alban Berg Quartet, and a regular soloist with leading orchestras, Charisius has appeared regularly at the most prestigious venues in Europe, the Americas, and Asia.
She enjoys working in projects with distinguished string quartets, various ensembles and many renowned soloists in international venues. She is frequently invited as a jury member to prestigious international competitions.
For many years, Charisius has been dedicated to developing the journeys of new generations of musicians. She is an internationally recognized teacher of viola and chamber music. Her prolific teaching activity at the Universities of Cologne and Lucerne as well as a wide range of masterclasses at some of the most prestigious institutions, has produced a large community of alumni. Her students can be found among the winners of international competitions, and many of them are members of the world’s finest ensembles and orchestras.
Isabel Charisius plays the extraordinary viola «ABQ» by Laurentius Storioni (1780).
Franz Schubert was born in Vienna, Austria in 1797 and displayed a natural musical talent at an early age. Growing up in a musical family, Schubert’s own brother would be his first music teacher. At 7-years-old, the young boy was sent to audition with Antonio Salieri to begin his formal education. After a successful meeting, Schubert was recruited to sing mezzo-soprano in a small choir for the services in the imperial Hofkapelle. Around this time, he learned how to play the violin, counterpoint, figured bass, singing, and organ lessons by his father.
His education would continue at the Royal City College, where he would remain for the following five years. During these early years of his life, Schubert already began to compose is first masterpieces. By adolescence, his understanding of composition deepened, and the now prolific composer wrote 150 songs by eighteen-years-old. Many of the lieder he wrote during this time are still widely celebrated for their mastery today. They include, An die musik, Nacht und Träume, Der Erlkönig, Ich wollt, and more.
Despite the composer’s genius and the fact that he managed to publish some of his works during his lifetime, Schubert was economically unstable, which worsened after 1824 after showing early symptoms of syphilis that would eventually take his life in 1828.
Franz Schubert’s work embodies two periods of classical music: Viennese classical and early Romanticism. His pieces are emotional and poetic in nature, but nevertheless fit a classical mold. Schubert enjoyed experimenting with expression, modulation and was very influential in the genre of the Lied.