(R)Evolutions (2013)

Schoenberg, Webern, Berg, Bach

Cuarteto Quiroga

A Revolutionary Evolution

“Music resembles a language. Expressions such as musical idiom, musical intonation, are not simply metaphors. But music is not identical with language. The resemblance points to something essential, but vague.” These words were written by Theodor W. Adorno, one of the greatest thinkers of the 20th century – as well as a respectable composer. He goes on: “The resemblance to language extends from the whole work, the organized linking of significant sounds, right down to the single sound, the note as the threshold of merest presence, the pure vehicle of expression. The analogy goes beyond the organized connection of sounds and extends materially to the structures. The traditional theory of form employs such terms as sentence, phrase, segment, ways of punctuating - question, exclamation and parenthesis. Subordinate phrases are ubiquitous, voices rise and fall, and all these terms of musical gesture are derived from speech.” What follows constitutes our focus: “[Music] makes use of recurring ciphers. These were established by tonality. If tonality does not quite generate concepts, it may at least be said to create lexical items. […] Their unchanging identity has become sedimented like a second nature. This is why consciousness finds it so hard to bid farewell to tonality.”

Adorno’s words help us understand the conceptual framework for the musical phenomenon in Austro-German culture. They also make us see that, just like linguists consider language a living organism undergoing a continuous process of change, composers deal with their own ‘musical language’ in a similar manner. 

When someone mentions Arnold Schönberg’s name, people tend to react defensively, irately or untrustingly. Many professional musicians and programmers, as well as the average music lover, share a deeply entrenched prejudice with regard to Schönberg. Below his name, we find music made up of strange, unintelligible and difficult sounds shaping compositions which are often considered inaccessible, unnecessary and, sometimes without reserve, simply ugly.

Against the backdrop of the crisis that musical language experienced at the dawn of the 20th century, when chromatism progressively overtook the tonal system, not many proposals were as illjudged as Arnold Schönberg’s. His new path was (and still is) perceived as a terribly radical breakthrough, though it simply aimed at providing an honest, unaffected answer to the Classical and Romantic heritage, both formally and conceptually.

Schönberg and his two leading disciples, Anton Webern and Alban Berg, began writing strictly tonal music. While they evolved as composers in the intellectually and aesthetically stimulating context of early 20th-century Vienna, the three realised that the principles of clarity and unity, considered the unchanging fundamentals of musical expression, could only be maintained and guaranteed by delving into the path initiated by Bach, that is, the progressive substitution of tonality and the two modes, Major and minor, by a superior mode. Departing from a deep analysis and an exhaustive knowledge of the evolution of the linguistic system, which had influenced musical creativity in Europe from the Renaissance up until 1900, Schönberg and his disciples continued developing their composing technique until they concluded that chromatism had conquered the tonal language, thus condemning it to its definitive death or its necessary transformation into a different system.

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Cuarteto Quiroga


Aitor Hevia violin
Cibrán Sierra violin
Josep Puchades viola
Helena Poggio violoncello

The Cuarteto Quiroga has established itself as one of the most dynamic and unique  quartets of its generation. The quartet has won international acclaim from critics and  audiences alike for its distinctive personality as well as its bold and original approach to the string quartet repertoire. 

The group takes its name from the Galician violinist Manuel Quiroga, one of the most outstanding string players in Spanish music history together with Pau Casals and Pablo Sarasate. 

Since its foundation, the Cuarteto Quiroga has studied with Professor Rainer Schmidt at  the Escuela Superior de Música Reina Sofía in Madrid and the ProQuartet-CEMC, Prof. 

Walter Levin at the Musikakademie der Stadt Basel, and Prof. Hatto Beyerle at the  European Chamber Music Academy. The quartet has also been influenced by András Keller, Johannes Meissl, Eberhard Feltz, György Kurtág and Ferenc Rados. 

Prizewinners of several major international string quartet competitions (Bordeaux, Paolo Borciani, Geneva, Fnapec-Paris, Palau Barcelona), the ensemble regularly appears at main halls and festivals in Europe and South America (Frick Collection New York, Wigmore HallLondon, Philarmonie Berlin, Concertgebouw Amsterdam, De Doelen Rotterdam, Les Invalides Paris, Auditorio Nacional Madrid, Heidelberger Frühling, Davos Festival, Auditori de Barcelona, Washington DC’s National Gallery, Stockholm’s Nybrokajen, Teatro Solís Montevideo, Buenos Aires, Bogotá, among others). The quartet has been recorded and broadcast by RNE, SWR2, SwedishRadio, FranceMusique, WDR, MEZZO TV, etc. Since season 2011-2012, the quartet has been Ensemble-in-Residence at the Miguel Delibes Auditorium in Valladolid (Spain).

Aitor Hevia

He started learning violin under the guidance of his father, J. Ramón Hevia. He continued his studies with I. Nashouskin, finishing his degree at the “Conservatorio Superior de Música de Oviedo”. He would later study with Keiko Wataya at the “Conservatorium van Amsterdam” where he graduated “Cum Laude”. He attended violin masterclasses with A. Mikline, León Ara, Boris Garlitzky, Ilya Grubert and Charles-André Linale. He has been awarded scholarships by the Spanish Ministry of Education and Science, the Principality of Asturias and “Cajastur”. His recording of Vivaldi´s Four Seasons together with Forma Antiqva has been recently release to critical acclaim. “The best Four Seasons on history” (Diverdi. Eduardo Torrico.) As soloist he has performed with several orchestras, both in Spain and abroad, Mozart Sinfonia Concertante, Sibelius Concerto and Prokofiev Concerto nº 1. He has been member of the JONDE ( Spanish National Youth Orchestra ) and EUYO ( European Union Youth Orchestra ), working with conductors such C. Maria Giulini, Sir Collin Davis, B. Haitink and V. Ashkenazy. Since his early steps as a musician, he was fascinated by chamber music, finding a unique way of expression. In 2003 he founded the Cuarteto Quiroga, now established as one of the most dynamic groups of its generation. The ensemble regularly appears at mail halls and festivals in Europe and America, among others Wigmore Hall London, Philarmonie Berlin, Concertgebouw Doelen Rotterdam, Auditorio Nacional Madrid, Auditori Barcelona, Palau de la Musica, Heidelberg Frühling, Stockholmis Nybrokajen, Frick Collection New York, Teatro Solís Montevideo, Buenos Aires, etc… In 2007 the Cuarteto Quiroga was awarded the Spanish National Radio Cultural Prize ( Premio Ojo Crítico ). Studies with Professors Rainer Schmidt, Walter Levine and Hatto Beyerle have deeply influence the musical personality of both Aitor Hevia and the Cuarteto Quiroga. Deeply committed with teaching, Aitor Hevia has been Keiko Wataya´s assistant at her violin class of Musikene. He is currently string quartet teacher at the “Conservatorio Superior de Música de Aragón” and at the International Summer Academy of Llanes.

Cibran Sierra

Born in Ourense (Galicia), studied at the Conservatorio Superior de Música in Vigo, Galicia (B.Mus.), Conservatorium van Amsterdam, Netherlands (M.Mus.), Oberlin College, US (Artist Diploma) and Univeristy of Göteborg, Sweden (Soloist Diploma). He specialized in chamber music with postgraduate studies at the Basel MusikHochschule, Switzerland, the Escuela Reina Sofia in Madrid and the European Chamber Music Academy (ECMA).

Main violin teacher include Milan Vitek, Per Enoksson and Keiko Wataya. Chamber music studies with Rainer Schmidt (Hagen Quartet), Walter Levin (LaSalle Quartet) and Hatto Beyerle (Alban Berg Quartet), have profoundly influenced his musical personality.

He has been awarded several prizes as violinist, such as the Guido Vecchi Prize (Göteborg, 2003), 1st Prize at Voldrich Competition (Sweden), Bärenreiter Prize (Jenuesses Musicales, Spain 2000) or Dean’s Talent Award (Oberlin, USA, 2002) , etc. As soloist he’s performed with orchestras in Spain and Scandinavia, most notably with Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra (GSO, with whom he played Bartók’s 1st violin concerto). In Gothenburg he also offered the premiére of Roger Johansson’s Violin Concerto (2004) which was dedicated to him. He has also given recittals in Spain, Sweden, Denmark, Czech Republic, Netherlands, USA, etc. and collaborated with several esembles and chamber music groups such as the Casals Quartet, Meta4, Forma Antiqva, Quatuor Ardeo or the Amsterdam Sinfonietta.

As concertmaster and principal he has collaborated with several orchestras (Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra-GSO, Helsingborg Symphony Orchestra, The Oberlin Opera, and several others), working closely with conductors such as Frans Brüggen, Vladimir Ashkenazy, Gustavo Dudamel, Lawrence Foster, Andrew Manze, Paul Polivnick, James Ross, Sir Colin Davis or Jordi Savall, among others.

With the firm commitment of paying tribute to the great Galician violinist Manuel Quiroga, he found the Cuarteto Quiroga, prizewinner of several of the most prestigious international competitions for String Quartet (Bordeaux, Geneva, Paolo Borciani, Beijing, Paris), the Spanish Radio Culture Prize (Ojo Crítico 2007) and the Gold Medal of the Palau in Barcelona. The Cuarteto Quiroga tours regularly worldwide, performing at the most important venues and festivals of the international scene (Wigmore Hall London, Philharmonie Berlin, Frick Collection New York, Concertgebouw Amsterdam, Doelen Rotterdam, Auditorio Nacional de Madrid, Beijing National Concert Hall, Teatro Solís Montevideo, Nybrokajen Estocolmo, Il Gonfallone di Roma, etc.), has recently released their CD “Statements” (Cobra Records) with unanimous applause from critics and audiences, and is considered one of the most dynamic, bold and important quartets of Europe’s newest genereation. Among their more immediate projects we can list concerts and tours in Australia, US, United Arab Emirates, and residencies in Holland (Orlando Festival) and France (Festival de Luberon).

Cibrán Sierra is founder and artistic director of the Chamber Music Season “Sen Batuta” held in his Galician hometown of Ourense. As a teacher he worked at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden, and currently holds the String Quartet chair at the Conservatorio Superior de Música de Aragón in Zaragoza, Spain. He gives regularly chamber music masterclasses worlwide (Spanish National Youth Orchestra-JONDE, Madrid, Oviedo and Málaga Conservatories, Universities of Houston and Washington in Seattle, Orlando Festival-Holland, etc.) and has been a jury member at the Llanes International Violin Competition and the Spanish Radio Culture Prize Ojo Crítico 2009.

He plays the Nicola Amati “Arnold Rosé” violin (Cremona, 1682), thanks to the generous loan of Paola Modiano’s heirs.

Helena Poggio

Born in Madrid, she started her violoncello studies at the age of eight at the Royal Conservatory of Music in Madrid and finished them in 1999 with a Degree’s Extraordinary Prize. She studied for five years at the Escuela Superior de Música Reina Sofía, under the direction of Frans Helmerson. In Bloomington, Indiana University, she obtained an “Artist Diploma” with T. Tsutsumi and then a “Master of music” at the Juilliard School, New York, studying with J. Krosnick and D.Adkins. She has received lessons from N.Shakovskaya, D. Geringas, L. Claret , B. Greenhouse, J. Starker, P. Müeller and B. Pergamenschikov. First Prize at several competitions as the National String Instruments Competition “Ciudad de Játiva”, the Spanish and Latin American Music Competition at the Indiana University and First Prize and Audience Prize at the International Bow Instruments Competition “Julio Cardona” in Portugal. She has performed recitals at several halls in Spain, Portugal, Germany, the Netherlands, Italy, Bosnia, USA and has recorded for RN2 Spanish National Radio. As a member of the Cuarteto Quiroga she regularly performs at the most importants halls in Europe. As an orchestra member she has participated at the Verbier Festival Orchestra and as a principal cellist of the Juilliard Symphony Orchestra and the Spoleto US Orchestra working with conductors as J.Levine, K.Masur, Z.Metha, C.Dutoit. Fulbright scholar, Helena enjoys teaching chamber music as much as performing with the Cuarteto Quiroga. She currently teaches at the High Conservatory of Music of Aragón and at the International Summer Course of Llanes (Asturias).

Josep Puchades

Violist of the Cuarteto Quiroga, Josep Puchades has been a member of the Mahler Chamber Orchestra and Lucerne Festival Orchestra since 2005. In Addition he is Chamber Music Professor at the Conservatorio Superior de Musica de Aragon and viola professor at the Conservatorio Superior de les Illes Balears.

Born in Valencia, Spain, he has been a viola professor at the Real Conservatorio Superior de Música de Madrid and was solo viola in the Orquestra de la Comunitat Valenciana under Maestros Lorin Maazel and Zubin Metha from 2006 to 2011.

He has played chamber music, solo recitals and solo concertos in Europe and the U.S.A, and has been featured at festivals and venues such as Open Chamber Music Prussia Cove, Norfolk, Tanglewood, Schleswig-Holstein, International Summer Academy Switzerland and Mozarteum Salzburg. He performed the Bartok Viola Concerto with the Radio Symphonieorchester Wien in 2004 and the Yale Philharmonia Orchestra in 2002.

Josep has been awarded 3rd prize in the II International Viola Competition Wien 2004, 1st prize in the Woolsey Hall Concerto Competition, New Haven, CT, 2002, and the Yale University Alumni Association Prize, 2002.

He has attended courses and masterclasses with Joseph de Pascuale, Gerard Caussé, Enrique Santiago, Jesse Levine, Julliard String Quartet, Tokyo String Quartet, Claude Franck, Peter Frankl, Erick Friedman, Peter Oundjian, Pamela Frack, Nobuko Imai and Seiji Ozawa.

Josep holds a bachelor’s degree from Real Conservatorio Superior de Música de Madrid, a Master’s of Music and an Artist Diploma from Yale University and a Postgraduate degree from Universität Mozarteum Salzburg, having studied with Luis Llácer, Jesse Levine, Tokyo String Quartet and Thomas Riebl.

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(R)Evolutions (2013)

Schoenberg, Webern, Berg, Bach

Cuarteto Quiroga

    Ritmo, sept 2013 -

"Each piece is played with the right style, with exquisite care by the dynamic and with a variety of resources to the height of the best quartets."

LG[read full review]

    Beckmesser, 2013

Si el Cuarteto Quiroga dedicaba su primer trabajo “Statements” a Haydn, Webern y Sollima, este segundo se centra más específicamente en la segunda Escuela de Viena –Schönberg, Webern y Berg- si bien a más de uno le podrá sorprender la gratísima audición del “Cuarteto en re mayor” del primero de los citados. Músicas muy bien interpretadas y a la vez bien seleccionadas como muestra de un intenso periodo de cambio. The Cuarteto Quiroga spent his first work "Statements" on Haydn, Webern and Sollima, the second focuses more specifically in the second Viennese School -Schönberg, Webern and Berg although more than one may surprise you the very pleasant hearing "Quartet in D major," the first of those. Music performed very well and also well chosen as a sign of an intense period of change.

Gonzalo Alonso[read full review]

    Musicframes, june 26, 2015

The Cuarteto Quiroga is flexible quartet and wide in timbre. Both the tonal work of Schoenberg as a-tonal pieces by Webern and Berg shine next to J.S. Bach motet and shows the power of these four string instruments. In one musical voice this string quartet plays easily the ‘(R)evolutions’ – with or without the ‘R‘!

Mattie Poels[read full review]

(R)Evolutions (2013)

Schoenberg, Webern, Berg, Bach

Cuarteto Quiroga

Digital Converters: DCS 904 AD / 954 DA
Mastering Engineer: Tom Peeters
Mastering Equipment: KEF Reference series 107
Microphones: Bruel & Kjaer, 4003, Neumann, Schoeps
Mixing Board: Rens Heijnis custom made
Producer: Tom Peeters
Recording Engineer: Tom Peeters
Recording location: Westvest90 Church, Schiedam Holland
Recording Software: Pyramix
Recording Type & Bit Rate: DSD64

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COBRA0037: (R)Evolutions
01:02:43   Select quality & channels above
Streichquartett D-Dur (1897) - Allegro molto
00:09:00   N/A
Streichquartett D-Dur (1897) - Andantino grazioso
00:04:00   N/A
Streichquartett D-Dur (1897) - Andante con moto
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Streichquartett D-Dur (1897) - Allegro
00:05:10   N/A
Rondo für Streichquartett (1906) - Bewegt
00:08:21   N/A
Streichquartett op.3 - Langsam
00:09:49   N/A
Streichquartett op.3 - Mäßige Viertel
00:11:03   N/A
Sechs Bagatellen für Streichquartett Op.9 (1913) - Massig
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Sechs Bagatellen für Streichquartett Op.9 (1913) - Leicht bewegt
00:00:32   N/A
Sechs Bagatellen für Streichquartett Op.9 (1913) - Ziemlich fliessend
00:00:27   N/A
Sechs Bagatellen für Streichquartett Op.9 (1913) - Sehr langsam
00:00:55   N/A
Sechs Bagatellen für Streichquartett Op.9 (1913) - Ausserst langsam
00:01:26   N/A
Sechs Bagatellen für Streichquartett Op.9 (1913) - Fliessend
00:00:54   N/A
From Matthaus Passion, BWV 244 - Choral: Befiehl du deine Wege
00:01:25   N/A

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