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Book a ticket Sunday 25th March 2018 7.30 pm Book a ticket
Pre-concert talk by Alan George at 6.45 pm
Please Note:Allerdale Borough Council are supporting Keswick Music Society and allowing us to have FREE parking (in the car park by the Theatre) between 6pm - 10pm on the evenings of our Music Society concerts for next season 2017 - 2018.
Sunday 25th March 2018 7.30 pm
Lucy Russell violin, Marcus Barcham Stevens violin
Alan George viola, Sally Pendlebury cello
Beethoven’s Op.95 and Schubert’s Death and the Maiden quartets, high points of the chamber music repertoire, in a programme beginning with Purcell and spanning four centuries. This distinguished quartet has a special connection with Keswick and the Music Society: one of their founder members, Jonathan Sparey, grew up in Keswick and was the son of the Society’s founders, Joan and Leslie Sparey. Another original member will be playing in this concert: the viola player, Alan George, now the longest serving quartet player in Britain!
The Fitzwilliam is now one of the longest established string quartets in the world: founded in 1968 by four Cambridge undergraduates, the group quickly achieved international recognition as a result of its members’ personal friendship with Dmitri Shostakovich and their subsequent championing of his string quartets following his death. He entrusted them with the Western premières of the last three, and before long they had become the first ever group to perform and record all fifteen. These discs, which gained many international awards, secured for them a worldwide concert schedule and a long term recording contract with Decca. Whilst the FSQ’s pre-eminence in the interpretation of these works has persisted, the authority gained has also been put at the service of diverse other composers, from the late 17th century to the present day. It remains one of the few prominent quartets to play on historical instrument set-ups, but has simultaneously brought about the addition of over 50 new works to the repertoire. Its involvement in 2013 with celebrating Britten's anniversary, and before that the chamber works of Delius and Grainger, are but two recent manifestations of the players’ enthusiasm for using anniversaries to promote less familiar music – following Vaughan Williams in 2008: thus it would appear that England is gradually taking its place alongside Russia and Vienna as a principal area of speciality, while in 2015 they looked further north, to honour the joint 150th birthdays of Glazunov, Sibelius and Carl Nielsen.
The last two or three years have witnessed an increase in the their presence on the British festival scene, with invitations from Petworth, Three Choirs, Leamington, Buxton, Ryedale, City of London, Fishguard, Swaledale, English Haydn, Beverley Early Music – during which time they have also been granted their very own chamber music festival in the prestigious “town of books” – Hay-on-Wye. Similarly, they have become more prominent once again in London, notably at King’s Place, Conway Hall, and St John’s Smith Square.
2018 will begin with the realisation of a long term ambition to record Beethoven and Schubert quartets on gut strings, following the success of previous recordings on historical instruments: the plan is to begin with a CD of the former’s Opp.74/95/135. Thereafter, ideas are already forming for a big celebration of the quartet’s 50th anniversary season in 2018/9.
Find out more about The Fitzwilliam Quartet
Follow this link to see the rest of our exciting Season 2017 - 2018