On Life and Death – Timeless Reflections

The pandemic has had the world under its grasp for over a year now. At the beginning of the crisis most of us got to know the virus, some sorrowfully losing their beloved ones to death. After this, the loneliness of isolation and social distancing followed. In this project we want to create a musical document of our time, referring to the work of Franz Schubert: Quartet in d minor “The death and the maiden”. We are very thankful for the support of Foundation Droom en Daad to carry out this project.


In Schubert’s time, child mortality was quite common. With numbers varying from place to place, up to 30% of newborns would not make it to the age of one. In his quartet, there is a dialogue of the death persuading a young girl of his good intentions. In the end, the death embraces the girl and the music comes to an end.

Over the years, child mortality has become staggeringly low. These days, the coronavirus makes us face another reality: it is now the elderly who are the most vulnerable to the tragic effects of this pandemic.

As part of our project, we want to collaborate with a composer to write a piece for string quartet. This composition should refer to the work of Franz Schubert, and also reflect on the current situation we are facing during the pandemic. During the fall 2021 this new composition will be performed together with the quartet The death and the maiden in Rotterdam. Our goal will be to make these performances accessible to a wider audience, for what we will look for less conventional venues for our concerts (the exact possibilities will be determined by the covid-19 situation and regulations).

Erasmus Quartet

Preliminary Agenda

12 december 2021: Heerenhuys, Rotterdam
? november 2021: Batavierhuis, Rotterdam