Opus 76 Quartet

‘Eat, Drink, Play: A Viennese Valentine’
with Opus 76 Quartet

February 11, 2021 - February 25, 2021 | VIRTUAL EVENT

Past Event

A link to access the stream will be sent 24 hours before showtime for your exclusive viewing experience.

Create a cozy date night at home with romantic chamber music and a fabulous recipe from a local chef.

Romance is in the air as Midwest Trust Center and Opus 76 Quartet invite you to “Eat, Drink, Play: A Viennese Valentine” at 7 p.m. on Thursday, February 11. Tickets are $15/household. After purchase, a link to the recital will be sent 24 hours before the first day of access. The recital is available on demand through February 25.

This romantic “date night in” is approximately one hour in length and features lively performances filmed in Yardley Hall. Additionally, Chef Guillaume Hanriot of Café Des Amis will prepare a special Valentine’s meal and include a demonstration of Sabrage - how to remove a champagne cork with a sword! A recipe for the meal will be provided at the time of purchase. The recipe will be shared one week before the concert premiere.


  • String Quintet in C major D.956 by Franz Schubert

Program Notes by Michael Keelan

The C major quintet by Schubert is not the first piece in history for string quartet plus an additional cello, but it is certainly the greatest. As of 1824, Schubert was acquainted with Mozart’s string quintets containing a second viola, and their increased possibilities informed Schubert’s string writing for the rest of his short life, even in conventional scoring. His last quartet, penned in 1826, explored some of the modal ambiguity of major versus minor that would later characterize his quintet.

By the time he was 31, Schubert had suffered from syphilis for five years. Uncurable at the time, it precluded marriage and added instability to an already unsettled lifestyle. Poor and ailing, Schubert moved in with his brother, Ferdinand, a musician and teacher. The decrepit conditions were ameliorated only by a family willing to care for him.

Schubert’s instrumental music became grander in scale while retaining all the lyricism familiar from his earlier days. This was true of a set of three piano sonatas created alongside the quintet in autumn 1828. On October 2, Schubert implied in a letter to a Leipzig publisher that the quintet was just completed and going into rehearsal; we have no corroboration of that or a premiere during the final weeks of his life.

Having finished two exceptionally beautiful songs in October and made great progress on a 10th symphony, Schubert decided he needed more formal training to broaden his textural range. He sought out counterpoint pedagogue Simon Sechter but fell seriously ill. His condition declined until his death a few weeks later.

He maintained interest in hearing music (Beethoven) and correcting his own works (the song cycle Winterreise) almost to the end. Ferdinand was left with substantial medical bills on top of the funeral, so he offered local publisher Diabelli Franz’s manuscripts of non-orchestral music (i.e. the material that would attract public sales).

However, that didn’t mean the quintet was printed. The first citation of its performance in 1850 included prominent Viennese musicians, which ensured its place in the canon. An edition that appeared in 1853 is the only original source available since the manuscript and any sketches were lost.

The work’s character masterfully intertwines the earthy and celestial. Schubert plays tricks using combinations of players to give the impression of an even larger ensemble. A late style is evident from the vast expanses, simple yet startling harmonic pivots, and alternation of forward drive and timeless suspension (as in the second movement and trio of the third). The finale is irresistible in its Hungarian swagger, enlivened by the gossamer figurations Schubert so often demands of string chamber players. The composer is at his melodic best throughout.

Each program in the “Eat, Drink, Play!” series is no more than 70 minutes, with 40 minutes of music plus dynamic, entertaining content. Music elements will be expanded upon with cameos from well-known figures in the local performing arts industry. Additionally, chefs will recommend wine and food to pair with the music.

And keep an eye on our website for more recitals in the “Eat, Drink, Play!” series in 2021: March/April and June.

Combining chamber music with food and wine shows how easy it is to create a fun and romantic evening at home!