Albion Quartet
Event 8
Friday 20th October, 8:00pm 
Little Missenden Church

Quartet classics and a new work
Franz Schubert
String Quartet in A Minor D804 op29 ‘Rosamunde’
Howard Skempton
Moving On
Ludwig van Beethoven
String Quartet in E Flat major op74 ‘Harp’

This is an archived event from the 2017 Programme.

Rosalind Ventris viola  Tamsin Waley-Cohen violin  Emma Parker violin  Nathaniel Boyd cello




The newly formed Albion Quartet brings these brilliant string players together as a permanent group for the first time.

By 1824, Schubert seemed to have lost interest in writing songs and turned instead to other means of expression. The Rosamunde quartet is the first of his last great masterpieces for string quartet - suffused with regret for the lost world of his youth and one of the most hauntingly melancholy pieces he ever wrote. It’s notable for its dark-tinged reserve and, although the usual Schubertian lyricism is present, it’s permeated with introspective feeling, perhaps indicating his state of mind as his final illness approached.

Commenting last year on Moving On, Howard Skempton remarked, ‘the title seems valedictory, yet it’s also expressive of momentum.’ It was commissioned by the Harrogate Festival and, in a single movement, masterfully combines classical string quartet textures with luxuriant harmonies and a fluid approach to tonality -- ‘all we can do in music is find our bearings between the familiar and the unfamiliar.’

Referring to the harp-like pizzicato arpeggios in its first movement, the Harp quartet was given a name - as so often - not by Beethoven, but by his publisher. Written in 1809, the same year the 5th Symphony and the Emperor piano concerto were published, it shares ‘heroic’ elements with them and is a fine example of Beethoven's management of musical tension. It’s not a stern work though and can be both lyrical and exultant. ‘The texture thrillingly deepens and solidifies…until the four instruments sound as if the whole world is singing’ Robert Simpson

These four outstanding musicians already had a wealth of experience as solo performers, but ‘a shared belief in the visceral, communicative power of the string quartet’ brought them together as the Albion Quartet last year. A thirst to explore the quartet repertoire in all its aspects is quickly becoming the Albion's benchmark, and in this programme they give us works by two masters of the medium, plus a recent work by a modern exponent.    


Introducing the Albion Quartet