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Dear friends,

Our second concert of the fifth season will take place on November 26th in San Francisco and on November 27th in Palo Alto. Both concerts are at 4 o'clock.

Purchase advance tickets online! Click the city name to purchase November concert tickets in San Francisco or Palo Alto. Tickets will also be available at the door (by cash/check only).

See you at the concert!

All the best,

Kati, Lisa, Anthony, and Bill
The New Esterházy Quartet

Season Five concert 2 • Haydn and his Students III

Quartets by Haydn, Reicha, Zmeskall, and Beethoven

Saturday, November 26, 2011 at 4pm; St Mark’s Lutheran Church, San Francisco

Sunday, November 27, 2011 at 4pm; All Saints’ Episcopal Church, Palo Alto

Who Was Nicholas Zmeskall?

Spoiler alert: no definitive answer will be supplied by the New Esterházy Quartet's post-Thanksgiving concert. We will play two quartets dedicated to Zmeskall, and one quartet written by him, and by the end of the concert you will know as much about him as we do...practically nothing! There are a couple of articles from over 30 years ago in obscure Austrian journals, not easily read, and surely some juicy tidbits in Hungarian archives even less available to the curious but non-professional scholar. Although there are countless volumes written about Beethoven and Haydn, even their lives recede from us with each passing generation. Their flesh and blood petrify to marble the more we study and admire their music.

Here, in a nutshell, is what we know about Nicholas Zmeskall: he came to Vienna in  1784 at age 25 as an official in the Hungarian side of the Austro-Hungarian monarchial government, he was a cellist and composer, and he moved (and played) in the circles that included the elder Haydn and the young Beethoven. When Haydn got around to issuing his own edition of his Op. 20 Quartets, which had been available in unauthorized editions for decades, either he or his publisher dedicated the set to Zmeskall. Beethoven dedicated his Op. 95 Quartet to him also, Zmeskall being an imperturbable buddy to the irascible composer, running errands for him, helping him with the practical details of his life, and putting up with the insults and irritations that alienated many of Beethoven's other friends. Zmeskall not only played quartets with the Viennese elite, he wrote quartets as well, and we'll hear one of his short and not entirely amateur compositions on the program.

The one piece on the program not directly connected to Zmeskall is by Haydn's student Anton Reicha, who as a young man had played in the Bonn court orchestra alongside Beethoven, his exact contemporary. Although it is not certain, Reicha's Quartet may have been written in Vienna around 1805. The date of Zmeskall's Quartet is likewise uncertain; in fact, this assigning of numbers and dates to musical compositions
is an unfortunate distraction.

written by men long dead, these works were intended to be brought to your ears by living musicians in your presence. Thus your presence is as essential as ours to their resurrection. Please join us on Saturday November 26 in St. Mark's Lutheran Church or Sunday November 27 in All Saints' Episcopal Church. Both performances are at 4pm, please see our website at for particulars.

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New Esterházy Quartet
PO Box 251
Vacaville, California 95696

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