Over the past several months, we’ve had opportunity to look at what happens with a string quartet when a member leaves the ensemble—not necessarily by choice, but rather situational circumstances: on the stage with OPUS at the Curtain Call Theatre and in film with A Late Quartet.
On Sunday, we reap the benefit of a farewell performance with the highly revered Tokoy String Quartet … but this time, after 43 seasons of touring, it is by their choice.
In the Fall of 2011, violinist Kikuei Ikeda and violist Kazuhide Isomura made the decision to retire. While violinist Martin Beaver and cellist Clive Greensmith had no shortage of fine applicants auditioning for the position of 2nd violin and viola, the members of the Tokyo String Quartet decided that their extraordinary 44 year history would officially come to an end in June 2013.
In a personal note on the Tokyo’s website, Martin Beaver notes: “It is a difficult prospect to replace one long-standing quartet member. To replace two of them simultaneously is a Herculean task. With the retirement of our colleagues in our minds, we increasingly felt over the last few months that the most fitting way we could honor and celebrate our quartet’s long and illustrious career was to bring it to a graceful close.”
This is sad for us as chamber music loving audience members (even Sesame Street’s Oscar would likely agree). But a decision one has to respect.
We have Friends of Chamber Music to thank for introducing the young Tokyo String Quartet to Capital Region audiences in the early 1970′s as they were launching their career and for this opportunity to hear a now familiar and one of the foremost chamber ensembles ever on their farewell performance tour—a quartet that has collaborated with a remarkable array of artists and composers all over the globe—before all we have is the Tokyo’s legacy of an incredible touring history (including Sesame Street), a comprehensive catalogue of critically acclaimed recordings, and a distinguished teaching record.
- Beethoven: String Quartet in f minor, Op. 95, “Serioso”
- Mendelssohn: String Quartet in e minor, Op. 44, No. 2
- Auerbach: String Quartet “Farewell” to the Tokyo