The Sacconi Quartet on why Beethoven is life-changing


Sacconi Quartet's Hannah Dawson at the Bristol Proms 2014

The music might be seen as complex, but the performers' reactions are 100% human. The Sacconi Quartet explain how cameras are bringing Beethoven to life at the Bristol Proms.


Lights, cameras, and Beethoven - the Sacconi Quartet explain why their Bristol Proms performance speaks to listeners on many levels.

On a scale of one to 'life-changing', Beethoven's Opus 132 string quartet is up there with the best. With its five-movement structure, complex themes, and intense tunes, it's not the easiest of pieces to follow, especially on a first hearing.

But, because this is the Bristol Proms, the Sacconi Quartet are trying to break down the perceived barriers associated with this famous piece. They'll be performing every note of Beethoven's music as it was written in 1825, but it's the delivery that's different: four cameras are positioned in front of the performers' faces, with two roaming cameras to capture every movement and facial expression as they play. 

Beethoven's string quartets: a guide by John Suchet

Second violinist Hannah Dawson spoke to Classic FM's Jane Jones about why this music is so important - whether it's your first listen or the hundredth time you've heard it.

"I think is quite life-changing for musicians and for listeners," she said of the string quartet, written towards the end of Beethoven's life. "It is complex though, and think possibly for those who don't know that music about music or haven't been to that many concerts, it possibly could be too much on a first listen, but we're hoping this performance, having the added elements, might make it more comprehensible straight away."