There is not a single reputable journal that has not garlanded the Carducci Quartet with praise. And as if their extraordinary musical abilities were not enough, their existence as an ensemble made up of two married couples makes them the most perfect fit for our season exploring Family Relationships!
Fanny Mendelssohn Hensel’s quartet is obviously a work that we might assume has always been appreciated alongside her younger brother’s similar essays in the form. The truth however is that this fine Romantic work, from 1834 and therefore written in her late 20s, may never even have been performed in Fanny’s lifetime. Indeed the score only became officially available through Breitkopf & Härtel as recently as 1988. Supportive though her brother may have been, there is no denying the lop-
Without becoming obsessive about our theme of Family Relationships, the Vaughan Williams 2nd Quartet can also be seen through a familial prism. It was written for the Menges Quartet and the dedication reads ‘to Jean on her birthday’. This refers to the viola player Jean Stewart and it is no coincidence that the voice of the viola is at the very heart of the musical discourse in this elegant work. However it was not Jean that the 72 year old composer would go on to marry, but instead one of her best friends Ursula Wood…
- Fanny Mendelssohn Hensel – String Quartet in E flat
- Ralph Vaughan Williams – String Quartet No.2
- Dmitri Shostakovich – String Quartet No.9