Ludwig van Beethoven was born on 16 December 1770 in Bonn. In 2020 the world of classical music celebrates 250 years from the birth of this great master. In this year of commemoration, it is important to give the string quartet masterpieces plenty of attention, but instead of doing a full cycle of quartets we have taken a different route. We are preparing a cycle of the first six (op.18) quartets and we will be playing a couple of the later quartets too. Aside from that, we are focusing on some lesser-known repertoire and works of other composers who are connected to Beethoven through history. 

 

The op.29 String Quintet, the curiously unknown Elegischer Gesang and the Septet are making an appearance alongside the First Symphony and the Kreutzer Sonata, both in arrangements for string quintet. We will be joined by wonderful musicians and friends including violist Simone Jandl, cellist Robin Michael, horn player Anneke Scott, members of the Hanover Band and students of the Royal College of Music.  

 

We are bringing to life music by Beethoven’s pupils Carl Czerny and Ferdinand Ries, and we have also found an amusing link between Beethoven’s op.131 and a quartet by Georges Onslow, who was described by his publisher as “notre Beethoven français”. He famously said “The last quartets of Beethoven are mistakes, absurdities, the reveries of a sick genius…I would burn everything I have composed if I someday wrote anything resembling such chaos.”.