Friday 21 September | 7.30pm
Martyn Jackson and Simon Blendiss violins, Sarah-Jane Bradley viola,
Tim Lowe cello, John Lenehan piano
£15.00 (£5.00 Full Time Students, £1.00 under 18)
Joseph Haydn (1732 - 1809) String Quartet in F Minor, Op. 20 Sun Quartet Hob.III:35
Frank Bridge (1879 – 1941) Three Idylls for String Quartet (H.67)
Felix Mendelssohn (1809-1847) String Quartet No.2 in A Minor, Op 13 (1827)
This concert is to be played by four of the country’s leading string players; chamber musicians who are friends and with a chemistry that produces electrifying performances. Like Beethoven’s third cello sonata that Steven Isserlis and Ian Brown play in the opening concert of the festival, Haydn’s Op 20 string quartets also breaks the mould so that the idea of the string quartet could never be the same again. The cello sonata and these quartets both pave the way to the future.
The F Minor quartet is dark and brooding with Haydn, age 40, maturing and absorbing the stirrings of Romanticism in the Sturm und Drang (“storm and stress”) movement, in essence a reaction against Enlightenment rationality. In the process Haydn changes the string quartet forever in this dark and brooding landmark piece. Frank Bridge was also changed by the tide of history but before he became haunted by the mechanized slaughter of the First World War he basked in an era of pastoral innocence, dedicating his Three Idylls to his wife to be Ethel Elmore Sinclair, an Australian violinist he knew during his student days at the Royal College of Music. Mendelssohn was also desperately in love, with Betty Pistor, a 19-year old neighbour. He wrote her a poem which became a song which became the theme in his Op12 quartet. The ghost of Beethoven also looms large as Felix made a detailed study of the great master’s late string quartets. But his love for Betty is abundantly clear. Poor boy! It was a shame that his feelings were not reciprocated.
"Is it true? Is it true that you walk daily on that leaf-strewn
path, awaiting me beneath the grape arbor?"
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