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Brighton Festival: The Beethoven Project - Part 1: Elias String Quartet
String Quartet in G major Op.18 No.2
String Quartet in E flat major Op.127
String Quartet in F major Op. 59 No.1, ‘Rasumovsky’
This is the start of a two year project at the Brighton Festival in which the Elias Quartet are fulfilling a long-held dream to perform all of Beethoven’s string quartets as a cycle. Refusing to be hidebound by convention, the Quartet brings to Beethoven’s masterpieces the fresh approach that has made it one of the most exciting young ensembles to emerge in recent years.
Each of the concerts in this Festival’s series represents the three major periods of Beethoven’s quartet-composing career, taking a work from the early, middle and late quartets. This opening concert charts his progression from the classically rooted Op. 18 No. 2, inspired by Haydn, ‘the father of the string quartet’, to the first of his late quartets. It is the perfect introduction to the richness and sophistication of Beethoven’s quartets.
The Op. 18 quartet is known as the ‘Komplimentier- Quartett’, which translates charmingly as ‘the quartet of bows and curtseys’; it conjures the world of 18th- century courtly elegance. By the time of the Op.127 quartet, Beethoven had made the genre his own. Bridging the two is the first of the middle quartets, written for Beethoven’s patron Prince Rasumovsky.
Tickets include a glass of wine or soft drink in the banqueting room during the interval.
The Elias String Quartet are originally from France, Scotland and Sweden and take their name from Mendelssohn's oratorio, Elijah (Elias in its German form). The quartet formed in 1998 at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester where they worked regularly with the late Dr Christopher Rowland. They also spent a year studying at the Hochschule in Cologne with the Alban Berg Quartet.
'The emotional chemistry here was manifestly unusual... pure magic' (The Sunday Telegraph)
'The Elias String Quartet should not really be called a quartet. Although they are four string players, they don't play as four separate musicians but instead as one musical force to be reckoned with. Their performance was beautifully synchronised into one glorious interpretation of Beethoven's String Quartet No 15' (The Herald Scotland)
'The Elias is a quite exceptional quartet' (Gramophone Magazine).
Elias String Quartet tour dates
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Venue: Royal Pavilion
→ Brighton 11 min walk