Fitzwilliam String Quartet - July concert

Saturday 10 July 2022 from 7.30pm
Clare Hall Dining Room

Ticketing will launch in late May.


Purcell - music from The Fairy Queen (1692)

Mozart - Quartet in B flat, K.589 (1789)

Schubert -Quartettsatz in C minor, D.708 (1820)
               – with Andante completed by Brian Newbould (1994/2012)

Shostakovich - Quartet No.12, Op.133 (1968)

Alan George, a founding member of the Quartet, comments:
'Henry Purcell has been a favourite FSQ composer from our earliest days, and we make no apology for including not only his four-part viol fantazias in our programmes, but also selections of instrumental pieces from his stage and church music. It was mainly through him that we collectively came to use early instruments, so this programme traces, via three young men “whom the Gods love……”, the rapid development of the violin family over 130 years to its familiar form today. Whilst the second of Mozart’s quartets for the cello-playing King Friedrich Wilhelm of Prussia is as sunny as one would wish, it is surrounded here by a particularly terse piece of Schubert and one of the last quartets by Dmitri Shostakovich, already stricken by heart failure to the extent that these final works seem almost obsessed with his own mortality – yet demonstrating in the end a heroic resolve to remain alive! Although his death just seven years later cut short his grand plan for 24 quartets in all 24 keys, there is no explanation for Schubert’s having broken off after 40 bars of the second movement of his C minor. The ethics of completing unfinished works remains controversial (and maybe a future workshop at Clare Hall would be in order), but we should at least be indebted to Professor Newbould for enabling us to hear some beautiful music which lay silent for so many years.'

The Fitzwilliam was hugely fortunate to have been around at the right time and place when, back in 1972, the great Dmitri Shostakovich visited the quartet in York to hear them play. As a boy, Alan often daydreamed about what it might be like were the doorbell to ring, and to find Beethoven standing on the threshold! He says, 'Spending time with Shostakovich went some way to providing an answer: it was life-changing.' 

Useful information for attendees

  • Accessibility details: full step-free access, accessible toilet, lift.
  • Find directions on how to get to Clare Hall and contact details here.
  • Read up-to-date information relating to Covid-19 and visiting Clare Hall on this page.

Photo: Glen T Photography

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