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Macro/Micro

Feature

Emma Denton, cellist with the Carducci Quartet, tells Amanda Holloway about their Bartók quartet cycle

The Carducci Quartet’s three-concert series Macro/Micro interleaves Bartók’s six masterful quartets with exquisite miniatures by his Transylvanian countryman György Kurtág.

‘It makes perfect sense to put them together,’ says Emma Denton. ‘Their styles are obviously very different but both had a unique voice, because they wrote from the heart and ignored what was going on around them.’

Whereas Kurtág was influenced by Webern, writing tiny pieces in which every note is invested with meaning, the young Bartók was closer to the Romantic composers, particularly Brahms. ‘His musical journey involved developing folk influences; Kurtág was all about reducing the music to its absolute core.’ Denton says the Carducci Quartet spent a memorable week working with Kurtág in Paris. ‘It was an incredible, intense experience and we came away realising that how we played every single note was important.’

She has enjoyed playing Bartók’s six quartets as a set, and appreciating their different personalities. ‘It’s a really wonderful opportunity when you hear them in quick succession. When you put them next to each other you find different light and shade throughout the cycle. We think it’s incredible music.’

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