Friday 23 November 2012

40 already - Brodsky Quartet celebrates at Kings Place

From the 6 to 8 December, the Brodsky Quartet are celebrating their 40th anniversary with a series of events at Kings Place, in London. The quartet have never been ones to simply follow the well trod route, and unpredictable as ever their concerts at Kings Place include Schubert and George Crumb, a celebration of jazz, blues and rock, and the opportunity for the audience to choose the programme.

On December 6 their pair Schubert's Death and the Maiden quartet, with George Crumb's Black Angels. Black Angels is written for amplified string quartet and is Crumb's exploration of religious strife, with the violin representing the devil and the cello as the voice of God. It is a difficult, haunted work, one which was written in 1970, five years before the end of the Vietnam War and two years before the Brodsky Quartet was founded. Crumb also quotes from Death and the Maiden in Black Angels. He also uses numerous advanced performing techniques and it is considered one of the pinnacles of avant garde music.

On December 7, they are joined by Jacqui Dankworth for A Brodsky Songbook, celebrating their collaborations with jazz, blues and rock performers such as Elvis Costello, Björk and Sir Paul McCartney. Then on December 8, the audience gets its turn. 40 possible pieces to choose from, using four turns of a wheel of fortune to choose the four works in the programme - giving 10,000 possible combinations.

The Brodsky Quartet was founded in 1972 in Middlesbrough by brother and sister Michael and Jacqueline Thomas with their friends Ian Belton and Alexander Robertson. Initially they called themselves the Cleveland Quartet, but an encounter at Dartington with the more senior Cleveland Quartet (from Cleveland, Ohio) led to a change of name. There have been a few changes of personnel over the years, the line-up is currently Daniel Rowland - Violin, Ian Belton - Violin, Paul Cassidy - Viola, Jacqueline Thomas - Cello, but the group remains distinctively itself, always questing for new ways of exploring the quartet genre.

Further information from the Kings Place website

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