Quartetto del Teatro alla Scala

Francesco Manara violin
Daniele Pascoletti violin
Simonide Braconi viola
Massimo Polidori cello

Arvo Pärt Fratres
Samuel Barber String quartet in B minor, Op. 11
Antonín Dvořák String quartet no. 12 in F major, Op. 96, “American”


Sometimes it happens that works composed in different contexts and times look as if an invisible thread connects them. And so it is with Arvo Pärt, who, in 1977, had not yet chosen exile: his evocative, mesmerising stillness, which stops the flowing of time and condenses it around the austere simplicity of an endless drone, reveals an unexpected affinity with the sorrowful spirituality of the whole of Samuel Barber’s op. 11, not just the famous Adagio, the “saddest song ever written”, arranged for a string orchestra and premièred by Toscanini (New York, 1938). Almost fifty years earlier, Dvořák’s “American” had seen the light in the US, but in that case the singsong melancholy of a slow tempo was revived by a mix of folk influences, both American and Bohemian.