The Heath Quartet
Event 11
Saturday 13th October, 8:00pm 
Little Missenden Church

Bach, Beethoven and Tippett
Johann Sebastian Bach
Chorale preludes BWV614/622/641
Michael Tippett
Quartet no5
Ludwig van Beethoven
Quartet in A minor op132

This is an archived event from the 2018 Programme.


 Oliver Heath violin  Sara Wolstenholme violin  Gary Pomeroy viola  Chris Murray cello

©Simon Way


Beethoven had a miraculous late flowering in his final years. The Quartet in A minor opus 132 was one of his last and finest works. The luminous Molto adagio movement (the Heilige Dankgesang) is among the most sublime in all chamber music. It celebrates the composer’s recovery after a painful illness, from which he expected to die.

The last of our tributes to Michael Tippett, his breathtakingly beautiful fifth quartet, fits neatly within this concert. It was his penultimate work – aged 86 – and Beethoven’s opus 132 was a seminal inspiration. Tippett’s epigraph is from a French folk song, ‘Sing, nightingale, sing/You who have a happy heart’. The piece ends in a spirit of transcendent peace with an ecstatic but unexpected final chord.

Performing Bach’s Chorale preludes with a string quartet rather than an organ may be unusual, but it works marvellously. The parts and counterpoint emerge very clearly, and the music sounds timeless.

The Heath Quartet talk about Tippett's Quartets

Tippett’s quartets have a special place in the Festival’s history. In 1975, a young Lindsay Quartet played the 1st and 3rd Quartets in his presence as a 70th birthday tribute. Four years later they played the newly written 4th, while the Kreutzer Quartet played the 5th during the 1995 Festival.


In 2013, the Heath Quartet became the first ensemble for 15 years to win the Royal Philharmonic Society’s Young Artists Award. Three years later, as one of Britain’s most exciting chamber groups, they gave an acclaimed complete Tippett quartet cycle at the Wigmore Hall, and their Wigmore Live recording won the 2016 Gramophone Chamber Disk of the Year.

“The Heaths took all the difficulties in their stride, performing with fierce intelligence and feeling, passion and virtuosity” Daily Telegraph

In memory of Michael Cox

Concert sponsored by Alan Hedges