Wirral Chamber Music Series


classical music, chamber music, liverpool, merseyside, concerts



Monday 24 September 2018

at 7.30pm


Endellion String Quartet


Mendelssohn: String Quartet in D, Op.44 No.1

Britten: String Quartet No.3, Op.94

Beethoven: String Quartet in e minor, Op.59 No.2




The Endellion is renowned as one of the finest quartets in the world. Three of its original founding members continue to play in the quartet, which began in January 1979. Ralph de Souza joined them thirty-one years ago in 1986. As Gramophone states "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."

In Britain, the Endellion String Quartet has appeared at nearly all of the major series and festivals and has broadcast many times on BBC radio and television. It has appeared at the Proms and been featured in the week-long Radio 3 programmes "Artist of the Week" and "Artists in Focus". Its presence in London has been marked for many years by an annual series at Wigmore Hall, and also by appearances at the Queen Elizabeth Hall where the Quartet members were Artistic Directors of several "Quartet Plus" series. The Endellion also continues its prestigious Residency at Cambridge University which began in 1991, gives a regular Spring series at The Venue Leeds and recently began a new series at Balliol College, Oxford. It has worked with guest artists including members of the former Amadeus Quartet, Sir Thomas Allen, Joshua Bell, Michael Collins, Benjamin Grosvenor, Marc-Andre Hamelin, Stephen Hough, Steven Isserlis, Mitsuko Uchida and Tabea Zimmermann.

The quartet's international schedule has included tours of North and South America and concerts in Australasia, the Far East, Middle East, South Africa and Western Europe. Everywhere, the Endellion String Quartet "sets the audience ablaze" (Daily Telegraph) and "captivates concertgoers with a remarkable rapport, playing to each other with a sense almost of discovery, communicating to the audience on a level of unusual intimacy." (Guardian)

After the Endellions performed a Beethoven Cycle at New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art, Strad Magazine marvelled over "the trust and risk-taking that comes from years of playing together – it was a true delight." Other recent and future highlights include appearances at Carnegie Hall in New York, Queen Elizabeth Hall in London, Amsterdam's Concertgebouw, Zentrum Paul Klee in Bern, Ittingen Festival, Montreal's Pollack Hall, a tour of Mexico including a performance at the Festival Internacional Cervantino, a fortnight of concerts and teaching in China and Taiwan, and the Endellion's first concert in Tchaikovsky Hall, Moscow. They also recently played in Ankara and Istanbul for the first time.

The quartet has also undertaken three short-term residencies at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the USA, and coached for MISQA in Montreal. From 2001 to 2010 it was Associate Quartet of the RNCM; and 2011 saw the start of its continuing position as Visiting Quartet in Association with the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. In 2017 the quartet performed and coached at Singapore Conservatory and Yale University School of Music.

Released by Warner Classics in its 30th year, the Endellion's recordings of the complete Beethoven quartets and viola quintets (supported by The Stradivari Trust) included rarely heard works, movements, studies, and fragments for quartet and quintet, as well as Beethoven's complete early version of Op.18 No.1 and his remarkable quartet arrangement of his Piano Sonata Op.14 No.1. The texts used in these recordings were prepared by the notable Beethoven scholar and editor, Jonathan Del Mar, in collaboration with the quartet. The Observer commented " ... these superb musicians respond to the dark undertow so characteristic of Beethoven's quartets as much as the gentle lyricism which invariably breaks through." The Endellions have also recorded Haydn, Mozart, Schubert, Dvorak, Smetana, Tchaikovsky, Bartok, Walton, Amy Beach, Barber, Foulds, Martinu, Bridge, Britten and Ades. Their Haydn recording for Warners was called "extraordinary" by International Record Review and their Britten was described as "enormously moving" (BBC Music Magazine, 2014) and "quartet playing at the top level" (Luister)

The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians (2000) concludes that "The Endellion is arguably the finest quartet in Britain, playing with poise, true intonation, excellent balance and a beautiful tone."





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