‘Benjamin Britten – Peace and Conflict’
This year we were featured in the film ‘Benjamin Britten- Peace and Conflict’ playing an extract from Britten String Quartet no.2.
“The first performance of Britten’s second string quartet – an important post script to his ‘Peter Grimes’ was given in 1945 by the all female Zorian String Quartet. It was a great coup for Capriol Films to be able to mirror that performance by featuring the Zorian’s rightful successors, the Benyounes Quartet in Peace and Conflict” –Tony Britten – director
Written, produced and directed by Tony Britten and released by Capriol Films, the film tells the story of the pacifism which was at the core of Britten’s life and work.
In this clip, Anita Lasker Wallfisch recounts her experiences at Auschwitz and of seeing Benjamin Britten and Yehudi Menuhin play at Belsen shortly after the liberation.
‘Benjamin Britten Chamber Series’
This autumn, through a series of six concerts in St John’s Smith Square, we will be taking a journey through the chamber music of Benjamin Britten and some of his greatest influences to celebrate his centenary. In collaboration with cellist Philip Higham, and pianist Jeremy Young we will be performing the complete Britten repertoire for String Quartet alongside works which have influnced, inspired and illuminated Britten.
Philip Higham recently released a record of the Britten Suites for solo cello on Delphian Records to great critical acclaim, “A towering achievement…Higham plays with a wisdom that belies his years.” International Record. He will be performing all three of these suites throughout the series. There will also be a screening of ‘Benjanmin Britten: Peace and Conflict’ which features the Benyounes Quartet.
– 19th September – Purcell ‘Three fantasias in four parts’; Britten Rhapsody op.2; Britten String Quartet no.3; Schubert
String Quartet in D minor ‘Death and the Maiden’
– 26th September- Bridge ‘Three Idylls’; Britten ‘Three Divertimenti’; Britten String Quartet no.1; Shostakovich Piano Quintet .
– 3rd October- Britten Sonata in C op.65 for cello and piano; Schubert ‘Arpeggione’ Sonata; Bridge Sonata in D minor
– 10th October- Britten Suite no.1 for solo cello; Beethoven String Quartet in B flat op.130 (with Grosse Fugue)
– 27th October- Purcell arr. Britten Chacony in G minor; Britten Suite no.2 for solo cello; Britten String Quartet no.2
– 28th November- Britten Simple Symphony (arr. for quartet); Britten Suite no.3 for solo cello; Schubert String Quintet in C.
Click here to book tickets.
During our fellowship at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance we met and worked with the jazz quartet ‘Empirical’ as part of Trinity Laban’s unique ‘Co-Lab’ – a fortnight dedicated to students having new creative experiences through working with different art forms and genres of music. For us it was fascinating to work in a completely different rehearsal dynamic but also note the similarities of a quartet of musicians who have worked intensively together.
We decided to continue working together and Empirical invited us to join them for their performance in the Queen Elizabeth Hall in London Jazz Festival. In January we recorded an album titled “Tabula Rasa” which has been released on Naim Records.
Click here to see a video of the making of the record and here to see London Jazz festival preparations.
‘From Russia with Love’
During 2012 we hosted an evening of Russian Chamber Music in various settings. The programme was developed by our cellist, Kim Vaughan, for the Northern Ireland based Quercus Ensemble and is inspired by the famous ‘Les Vendredis’ chamber music evenings in 19th Century Russia. The programme takes the listener on a musical journey from the Golden Age of Tsarist Russia, through the uncertainty and shifting sands of the revolution and culminates in music that triumphed over adversity under the iron fist of the Soviet regime.
In March the event was held in Dalston with pianist Holly Cullen-Davies who joined us for Shostakovich’s Piano Quintet in G minor. This was the third in a series of music and food evenings that Holly organises with Rabbit Hole Events We returned with Holly to Rothay Manor’s ‘Music Holidays’ to give the closing concert at the end of a week’s exploration of Russian Music led by Geoff Keating.
In April we held the evening for the students at Trinity Laban Conservatoire. We were joined in the Shostakovich by Russian pianist Mikhail Shileyav and some of our student quartets performed. In the true spirit of ‘Les Vendredis’ we held a composer challenge. Short musical excerpts, inspired by a Kandinsky painting, were composed over the course of the evening and ‘premiered’ by us for an eager and appreciative audience at the end of the night (aided by a few ‘moscow mule’ cocktails!).
If you are interested in engaging us to present ‘From Russia With Love’ and would like more details please don’t hesitate to get in touch.
Shobana Jeyasingh Dance ‘Configurations’
Since January 2012 , we have been involved in a collaborative project with Shobana Jeyasingh Dance. ‘Configurations’ is the result of close work between the choreographer Shobana Jeyasingh and composer Michael Nyman, who wrote his string quartet based on South Indian (Bharata Natyam) rhythmic patterns. It is a 20 minute work full of vibrant energy and rhythmic intricacy between the quartet of dancers and the string quartet. The first performance was at British Dance Edition and we gave our BBC Radio 3 ‘In Tune’ debut as part of the project. Since then we have completed a tour in the UK and are looking forward to continuing performances. For future performance details click here.