Quatuor Diotima

Thursday 22 September 2022
Palau de les Arts. Teatre Martín i Soler
Free admission with invitation until full capacity

Cuarteto no. 3 La mémoire incendiée: La guitare (2007/09) Mauricio Sotelo (1961) 20’

Linien, Zeichnungen (1999/2004) Isabel Mundry (1963) 15’

Blossoming (2007) Toshio Hosokawa (1955) 14’

Unbreathed (2017) Rebecca Saunders (1967) 20’

Dedicated to the stars of this evening, Quartet no. 3 by Mauricio Sotelo once again takes us to the universe of cante jondo with Moorish-influenced melodies and techniques for striking the bows typical of guitar strumming. Contrast plays an important role here: feverish rhythmic passages are juxtaposed with other calm ones in dynamic registers at the edge of audibility.

Isabel Mundry’s compositions are characteristic for an extremely individualised musical language, full of variations and nuances. In each of her works, the sounds and sequences of them are articulated differently. Structured in eight short movements, Linien, Zeichnungen (Lines, drawings) spread meandering glissandi in brief explosions of energy that run through the four instrumentalists, located on stage at a greater distance than usual.

Toshio Hosokawa’s music is often inspired by elements of Japanese musical and cultural tradition such as flowers, and the lotus in particular. On Blossoming, its composer says: “The lotus sinks its roots into the mud below the surface of the pond; the stem stretches through the water to the surface and the sky; the bud is blooming towards the morning sun.”

In 2018, Diotima premièred Unbreathed at Wigmore Hall. Its composer focuses on the concepts of distance and vagueness, coming from The Unnameable by Samuel Beckett and found in the epigraph by the writer Haruki Murakami, which Rebecca Saunders reproduces in the score: “The skull is enveloped in a profound silence that seems nothingness itself. The silence does not reside on the surface, but is held like smoke within. It is unfathomable, eternal, a disembodied vision cast upon a point in the void.”


Quatuor Diotima, one of the most in-demand ensembles on the current international scene, was founded in 1996 by graduates from the Superior Conservatory of Paris. Their name evokes a twofold musical identity: Diotima is both an allegory of German romanticism (Friedrich Hölderlin thus names the love of his life in his novel Hyperion) and a standard bearer for the music of our time, alluding to Luigi Nono and his work Fragmente-Stille, an Diotima.

Quatuor Diotima has worked closely with some of the greatest composers of the second half of the 20th century such as Pierre Boulez and Helmut Lachenmann. They have also completed numerous commissions and received new works by the most brilliant composers of our time such as Toshio Hosokawa, Miroslav Srnka, Alberto Posadas, Mauro Lanza, Gérard Pesson, Rebecca Saunders, Misato Mochizuki and Tristan Murail. Based on their view of contemporary music, Diotima brings a new perspective to the great romantic and modern works of composers such as Beethoven, Schubert, the Viennese triad of Schönberg, Berg and Webern, as well as Janáček, Debussy, Ravel and Bartók.
Their rich discography, which most notably includes performances of the Second Viennese School, the complete Bartók Quartets and the definitive version of Pierre Boulez’s Livre pour Quatuor (on the Megadisc label), is usually received with the highest ratings from the international press. Exclusive artists for the Naïve label for more than ten years, in 2016 Diotima began a collection of monographs of the principle composers of our time. This season they will be releasing musical portrayals of Enno Poppe, Stefano Gervasoni, Gérard Pesson and Mauricio Sotelo.
Regular guests to the most significant concert halls and series in the world, the Diotima Quatuor is performing this season in important chamber music cycles and in ones dedicated to new creations such as the centenary of the Donaueschingen Festival, Amsterdam Muziekgebouw, KonserthusetStockholm, Marseille, Bruges, Bozar Brussels, Saint-Jean-de-Luz, the Paris Philharmonic String Quartet Biennale, the Barcelona Quartet Biennale, Elbphilharmonie Hamburg, Brucknerfest Linz, Liederhalle Stuttgart and the University of York, where they are artists-in-residence at the Music Department.
In the 2021-2022 season, their presence in the United States stands out, since Diotima are artists in residence at the prestigious University of Chicago, where they will be holding performances, workshops and teaching activities. Their recent and upcoming premières include works by Beat Furrer (quartet), Thomas Adès (clarinet quintet), Matthias Pintscher (quartet), Enno Poppe (quintet for two cellos) and works for augmented quartet by Mauro Lanza and Sasha Blondeau. At the same time, Diotima is beginning a series of commissions for young composers whose works are being premièred during the 2021-2022 season in the series of concerts for string quartet that Diotima has scheduled at the Scène Nationale d’Orléans.

Artistic sheet

Yun-Peng Zhao, violin
Léo Marillier, violin
Franck Chevalier, viola
Pierre Morlet, cello

More information
Les Arts
Foto: Lyodoh Kaneko