Sunday 30 September 2018

Looking ahead: Britten Weekend at Snape Maltings

Benjamin Britten, Peter Pears and the Amadeus Quartet (Photo Royal College of Music)
Benjamin Britten, Peter Pears & the Amadeus Quartet
(Photo Royal College of Music)
For a composer known primarily for opera, Benjamin Britten had a remarkably facility for other genres. A case in point is his string quartets which span his entire career from the 1940s to the end of his life, creating a remarkable monument in 20th century chamber music. For Snape Maltings' annual Britten Weekend this year, 19 to 21 October 2018 the focus is going to be on Britten's string quartets and his other chamber music. 

The Doric Quartet will be performing the works over three days, including playing the final quartet twice. And their viola player, Helene Clement will be performing on Britten's own viola, an instrument  given to him by his revered mentor Frank Bridge. The quartet is joined by oboist Olivier Stankiewicz, pianists Alice Chenyang Zu and Alasdair Beaton, Tesla and Thalea Quartets for a remarkable survey of Britten's chamber music from the early Divertimenti to the Temporal Variations and Phantasy Quintet alongside some of the other major pieces from the 20th century including music by Elgar, Korngold, Mozart, Purcell and Copland, plus the European premiere of John Woolrich's Quartet No. 2 Badinerie from A Book of Inventions, which is the first of a set of six quartets which Woolrich is writing.  ,

Britten's String quartet No. 2 took Purcell as its inspiration, and at Snape it will be performed alongside a transcription for string quartet of Purcell's Fantasias. Britten's String Quartet No. 3, was written in the last year of his life, and premiered by the Amadeus Quartet two weeks after the composere's death. It will be performed alongside a  short story by Henry James. In fact, the quartet will receive two performances, the first with the audience will be surrounding the players on the darkened Snape Maltings stage!

Further information from the Snape Maltings website.

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