Playing all Beethoven String Quartets in a concerts serie and/or making a recording from them is surely one of the main dreams of all seriously working quartets. Those works, that include all the richness of human mind, are often found as ”Quartets ofThe Quartets” or ”most profound group of pieces in Western music”. They are technically and musically most demanding and use all the possibilities of the ensemble in an amazing way.
Because of the status and importance of these works, most of the very best string quartets have realized these dreams- and very often in a marvellous way. Surely most chamber music enthusiasts know the Beethoven recordings of the greatest quartets of our time. The new ones, who will record them again, have to have especially much courage and individual perspectives to these masterworks when beginning the project.
Since the year 2000, after fifteen years of common chamber music life, the excellent Cremona- Quartet, Cristiano Gualco and Paolo Andreoli, violine, Simone Gramaglia, viola and Giovanni Scaglione, violoncello, has become a member of the presentable group of ”The Quartetts that have recorded the Beethoven cyklus”. They take their place in this group in an elegant and sovereign way; they have found the special characters of each individual quartet and their large scale of expression, beautiful and warm common sound, deeply experienced interpretation and, of course, an absolut sense of the basic things like rhytm and intonation, make listening to them an impressing adventure. During the recording process the quartet has also developed in its interpretation and the difference between first and last recorded ones is remarkable. That promises a lot for the future of the Cremonas.
In spite of many succes and a position as one of the leading quartets of their generation, they have not begun to rest on their laurels but all the time widening their activities and opening new doors for the future.
One of the new openings of the members of Quartetto di Cremona is to focus a big part of their activity on teaching and saving and developing the fine Italian string intrument and string quartet tradition for the future generations. Since Autumn 2011 the Quartet has taught at the Walter Stauffer Academy in Cremona and an important part of its activity is teaching master classes throughout Europe. One of the main ideas of the String Quartet courses in there is a support to the students: the ensembles, that have been agreeded in the audition will have their lessons for free.
The newest idea of Simone Gramaglia and his friends is to spread the string quartet and other chamber music culture all around Italy, where it has been centered mainly on a few main areas and cities. Because the country is full of most beautiful big old villas, that are optimal locations for chamber music playing, they are collaborating with the Piero Farulli Association, that contacted the owners of many of these historical houses to build a network, that already now includes more than 20 villas. Selected young string quartets from all over the world have already the possiblity to rehearse their programs spending some time, f.e. one week, with full board in the extremely inspiring conditions they offer. And, of course, for free. Their ”price” will be a concert, either public or private, to their hosts and their friends. One can only imagine how this kind of possibility will strongly influence the future of the young musicians – and surely also for the future of the music culture in whole Italy and as an example even for the rest Europe.
Last good news is that there are now available two scholarships of 5000€ to two of the groups that will be selected to this ”Dimore Storiche” (”Historical Villas”) project. But this is not all; to encourage very young string quartets to go on and to have a goal for their working, the first edition of an international workshop and competition for very young string quartets (10 – 18 yo) wil take place in next year in Casalbuttano and Cremona from August 29th to September 4th.
Let´s hope for a big success for the new openings of the Quartetto di Cremona!
In the last two photos the Quartetto di Cremona has been supplemented by violist Massimo Paris
For a list of villas of the Dimore Storiche project: www.associazionepierofarulli.com/le-dimore-del-quartetto/
For the international workshop and competition: www.associazionepierofarulli.com
From their working in the Stauffer Academy, an other Ecmta-report: http://www.ecmta.eu/italy