Our repertoire spans the music one plays with gut strings: from the early 1600s to early 1900s.
As this covers four centuries, depending on the repertoire we play on differing set-ups: either renaissance, baroque, classical, romantic or modern.
The emergence of the violin as the king of instruments began in the Renaissance, with the emergence of the violin band. Moving forwards we play works of the Baroque written for or arranged for quartet. We are fortunate as a string quartet that we have all worked extensively in all these different centuries of music.
The core quartet repertoire starts at the first Viennese School: composers such as J. Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven.
Unlike most quartets we add the works of their contemporaries to put the them in their context: Dittersdorf, Wranitsky, Onslow, to name a few. When you surround Haydn, Mozart or Beethoven by their greatly admired colleagues you can really see why they were then and continue to be held up as geniuses today.
We can tailor our programmes to fit with themes or ideas you may have for your concert series or festival. Here are some of our past and future programmes for inspiration
Horses and Swordsmen! :
Celebrating the works of Chevalier St Georges. He was a French classical composer, virtuoso violinist, conductor, and champion fencer. He served as the colonel of the Legion-St-Georges, the first all-black regimen in Europe. Today we know him as the first classical composer of African ancestry, composing string quartets, operas and other instrumental pieces.
J. Haydn: the Rider Quartet Op.74/3
Chevalier St George: Quartet Op.1
Beethoven: Rasmovsky Op. 59/1
Love and Fashion: Elegance and equity
This programme is named after an essay by Fanny Burney, one of the 18th century's most famous writers. She had to publish her first work as the male Frances Burney, as it was unacceptable for a woman to publish work outside the confines of the home. Only much later, when it received popularity, and at risk to her reputation, was she able to claim ownership.
Inspired by her and others starting the movement for equality with their artistry, we celebrate some of the unknown female composers of her day, alongside works she may have heard in the salons of London, Bath and Paris.
Listen to Her:
Music by women composers is only now being recognised as equal in quality to works of men. The prejudice of their era often means we don't listen to it with the same open ears. Women had to stay at home, be married and be concerned about their reputation, which for some reason was believed to be besmirched by publishing their work. Most of their works tended to be for fortepiano, or voice and accompaniment, with a few forays into more orchestral work.
These composers were innovative and forwards looking, and we bring to you some of their rare works for string quartet, which deserve to be better known.
Fanny Hensel (nee Mendelssohn)
Light and Dark:
Music for the mists of morning, and into the evening.
Haydn's Sunrise Quartet paired with Beethoven's Serioso.
An Evening with Mozart:
Recreating the famous occasion that saw Mozart, Haydn, Dittersdorf and Vanhal playing together.
Whilst we might be more aware of Mozart and Haydn, both the others were well known popular composers and virtuoso of their day.
In this programme we perform a work from each composer.