The DaPonte String Quartet’s second series of the season takes listeners on a stroll through Vienna, home to the world’s oldest amusement park, the Prater, in company with some of the Austrian capital’s most powerful musical prodigies, Joseph Haydn, Alban Berg, and Ludwig van Beethoven. “A Stroll in the Prater” will have five performances, from March 18-25, in Damariscotta, Portland, Rockport, Boothbay Harbor, and Brunswick.
Haydn has been dubbed the “father of the string quartet,” but “great-great-granddaddy” might be more apt, since techniques he worked out while composing the Opus 20 quartets defined the genre for the next 200 years. The DaPonte String Quartet will perform Haydn’s Quartet in C Major, Op. 20, No. 2, which was unique in its day for letting all four instruments have their moment in the limelight, an honor until then reserved for the violins.
For decades after its premiere, Berg’s Opus 3 quartet did not find much love, outside of Arnold Schoenberg, who mentored Berg as he composed this groundbreaking work. Today, however, it is widely admired as a piece of richly textured music that penetrates directly to the truths of the human heart.
Not quite a “stroll in the park,” Beethoven’s Quartet in F Major, Op. 59, No. 1 might be more akin to a ride on a roller coaster. “Beethoven’s middle quartets drove even his performers quite crazy- — to the point of the cellist storming out of the room on first reading,” said DaPonte String Quartet violinist Ferdinand Liva. “People will want to buckle up for this one.”
Lincoln County performances of “A Stroll in the Prater” will take place as follows:
• Sunday, March 18 at 3 p.m.: Lincoln Theater, 2 Theater St., Damariscotta
• Saturday, March 24 at 4 p.m.: St. Columba’s Episcopal Church, 32 Emery Lane, Boothbay Harbor
The DaPonte String Quartet is Maine’s premier string ensemble. Founded in 1991 in Philadelphia, it moved to Maine more than 20 years ago and now performs more than 50 times a year statewide and year-round, and tours the Northeast.
Tickets for “A Stroll in the Prater” are $25 and are available at daponte.org and at Sherman’s Maine Coast book shops in Damariscotta and Boothbay Harbor. Call 529-4555 for more information.