‘Quartet in Residence’, University of Cambridge



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OCTOBER 2016 – MAY 2017

West Road Concert Hall, 11 West Road, Cambridge CB3 9DP

Booking for concerts in the Endellion String Quartet’s new 2016-17 Concert Series at West Road Concert Hall is now open! 

“It hardly seems possible that it was more than 24 years ago that Professor Goehr said to us that we would be welcome to give a series of concerts under the auspices of the university just as long as we didn’t expect anyone to come to them. Well, for once, the great man was wrong and we are so grateful to all the regular attenders who have filled West Road in all these years. (Some foolhardy people even say they have been to every one of the 144 concerts!)

For the 2016-17 season we have a rich mixture of classical, romantic and more modern masterpieces. We play all three quartets from Haydn’s wonderful Op.54 set – all gems but No.2 stands out for its most extraordinary quasi improvised slow movement. And from Mozart we play the rousing ‘Hunt’ quartet and K.575 in D major which, if you ask Garfield at least, is the pick of the bunch! Mozart at his most effortlessly sublime.

From Beethoven we shall hear the C minor Op.18 No.4 which for some reason is often given to student quartets to learn but is tricky enough to scare ‘more mature’ groups, Op.127, the most lyrical and rhapsodic of his late quartets and Op.131, Beethoven’s own favourite, which terrifies all players! Mendelssohn is represented by two of his minor key quartets, the beautiful E minor Op.44 No.2 and the F minor, a tragic and stormy work written just after the death of his dear sister Fanny.

Chronologically (though not in the programmes) we then have Brahms’s marvellous A minor quartet and four extraordinarily different pieces from the first half of the 20th century: Sibelius’s ‘Voces Intimae’ from 1909, Janáček’s ‘Intimate Letters’ from 1928, Bartók’s fifth quartet, composed in 1934 and Tippett’s second quartet from 1942. We played the Sibelius just two years ago but so many people said how much they loved it and asked to hear it again and so here it is! Janáček’s second quartet is the most amazing outpouring of passion, to the verge of madness, and Bartók’s fifth quartet manages to be both one of the most brutal and most tender pieces of the entire repertoire. Tippett’s second quartet owes much to the Elizabethan, with its madrigal-like first movement, lively cross rhythms and wonderful passacaglia slow movement.

And have I neglected to mention Schubert’s second cello quintet (for which we shall be joined by our young friend Guy Johnston) and the annual special ‘surprise offering’ with a university student!” – Andrew Watkinson, Leader of the Endellion String Quartet

The Endellion String Quartet is most grateful to LARK INSURANCE

for their sponsorship of these concerts.

Tickets are now available from Cambridge Live (01223 357851 or online via www.cambridgelivetrust.co.uk/tickets 



Wednesday, 19 October 2016

MOZART String Quartet K.458 in B flat (‘The Hunt’)

TIPPETT String Quartet No.2

BEETHOVEN String Quartet Op.131 in C sharp minor

Mozart’s ‘Hunt’ quartet gets its name from the opening tune, but it also contains a glorious slow movement and brilliantly operatic finale. In his second quartet Tippett looked back to the first glorious age of English music with a strongly contrapuntal work which includes a heart-wrenching Passacaglia worthy of Purcell. For many (including the composer himself) Beethoven’s Op.131 is his greatest quartet — certainly the one in the most awkward key!

Wednesday, 16 November 2016

HAYDN String Quartet Op.54 No.1 in G

BARTOK String Quartet No. 5

BEETHOVEN String Quartet Op.127 in E flat

The Op.54 set suggests strongly that Haydn’s main focus when composing quartets had moved from the players to the audience. (Though this doesn’t make them any less fun to play!) Bartók’s fifth quartet ranges from the almost barbaric to some of the most yearningly beautiful music ever written. Op 127 is the most lyrical of Beethoven’s late quartets containing a set of variations which never fails to amaze with its breathtaking beauty and invention.

Wednesday, 15 February 2017

HAYDN String Quartet Op.64 No.4 in G

MENDELSSOHN String Quartet Op.44 No.2 in E minor

SIBELIUS String Quartet Op.56 in D minor (‘Voces Intimae’)

Another brilliant Haydn from a less well known set. (What an incredible abundance of riches Haydn’s sets of six quartets contain!) Mendelssohn’s Op.44 No.2 is a more melodic and soulful work than the other two in the set but still contains a typically brilliant Mendelssohnian scherzo. And we are playing the Sibelius ‘Voces Intimae’ for the second time in three seasons by popular demand!

Wednesday 15 March 2017

HAYDN String Quartet Op.54 No.3 in E

MENDELSSOHN String Quartet Op.80 in F minor

BRAHMS String Quartet No.2 in A minor

Mendelssohn’s stormy, tragic Op.80 (written soon after the death of his beloved sister Fanny) is sandwiched between the bright tunefulness of Haydn’s only mature quartet in E major and the intense lyricism of the Brahms A minor.

Wednesday 26 April 2017

BEETHOVEN String Quartet Op.18 No.4 in C minor

JANACEK String Quartet No.2 (‘Intimate Letters’)

TBC Quintet with guest student musician

Unusually, in the fourth of Beethoven’s Op.18 quartets the slow movement (or perhaps less fast one in this case!) is the least dramatic and intense. But there are those qualities aplenty in the rest of the piece! And Janáček’s second quartet ‘Intimate Letters’ could hardly be more of a frenzied outpouring! Let’s hope for something a little less high voltage from the surprise work with a student from Cambridge University.

Wednesday 24 May 2017

HAYDN String Quartet Op.54 No.2 in C

MOZART String Quartet K.575 in D

SCHUBERT String Quintet in C (D.956, Op. posth. 163) (‘Cello Quintet’)

Guy Johnston Guest Cellist

The last concert in our series starts with Haydn’s extraordinary Op.54 No.2, with its amazing written out improvisation in the Adagio, the agonising cries of anguish in the Trio and the slow (mostly!) finale. We follow that with Mozart’s radiantly tender late D major quartet and finish the season on a high note with the miraculous Schubert quintet for two cellos, in which we shall be joined by our dear friend Guy Johnston.

All concerts begin at 7.30 p.m. and end at approximately 9.30 p.m.


‘The Endellion is a quartet of the first rank: precision, clarity of articulation, and beauty of sound characterize both the individual playing and the stimulating interplay of the four team-mates.’ – La Presse, Montreal

‘The Endellion is arguably the finest quartet in Britain, playing with poise, true intonation, excellent balance and a beautiful tone’ – New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians

‘There’s always a feeling when listening to the Endellion Quartet that you’re listening to the Urtext method of quartet playing.  Maybe 35 years of playing together has brought to them as a group a uniformity of thought and instinct that allows them to play as a single entity’ – Gramophone Magazine


£27, £25 (OAP), £13 (Registered Disabled). £6 (Students, Under 16s)

HALF PRICE (standard or OAP tickets only) available for restricted view seats.

Group discount: 20% off for groups of 10+ (plus free programmes for each group member)

Box Office tel: 01223 357851

Book online: www.cambridgelivetrust.co.uk/tickets

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