Thursday 21 September | 7.30pm
£15.00 (£5.00 under 18s)
Haydn - String Quartet in C Major, Op 74, No.1
Mendelssohn - String Quartet No. 6 in F Minor, Op 80
Schubert - String Quartet No. 13 in A Minor, D. 804 ‘Rosamunde’
Magnus Johnston, Martyn Jackson violins,
Sarah-Jane Bradley viola, Tim Lowe, Pierre Doumenge cellos
The three string quartets in this programme are all mature works of genius composers who, whether they knew it or not, were nearing the end of their lives. Schubert had just been treated for the syphilis that would kill him less than five years later. His beautifully lyrical ‘Rosamonde’ quartet travels from despair to end in transcendent hope. The same cannot be said of Mendelssohn’s last major work, the quartet he wrote following the death of his beloved sister and soul mate, Fanny. Both Mendelssohn and Schubert died during their thirties. Haydn outlived them both by more than three decades. Liberated from the Esterházy court after thirty years of service, he took up an offer from the London impresario Salomon, with an outpouring of creativity for two extended visits to the city where he had to write for an 800-seat venue. Haydn wrote wonderfully ebullient, extrovert, tuneful music for his adoring London audience. How different compared to Schubert and Mendelssohn’s ruminative, darkly brooding death-tinged quartets.
Three string quartets of heart-rending beauty from composers who in their maturity were all moving towards new artistic horizons.
… in the end one runs out of superlatives to describe a performance that was so utterly complete. (review from the 2016 festival)
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