Performance Friday, November 8, 2013 | 7:30 PM

Endellion String Quartet

Weill Recital Hall
Known for “playing which set[s] the audience ablaze” (The Daily Telegraph), the Endellion String Quartet celebrates the centenary of the birth of Benjamin Britten by performing one of the composer’s enchanting string quartets and Three Divertimenti. Also on the program is one of the pillars of the chamber music repertoire—Schubert’s “Death and the Maiden” Quartet, relaying the urgency of the mythic process of death and resurrection.

This concert is part of Salon Encores.


  • Endellion String Quartet
    ·· Andrew Watkinson, Violin
    ·· Ralph de Souza, Violin
    ·· Garfield Jackson, Viola
    ·· David Waterman, Cello


  • BRITTEN Three Divertimenti
  • BRITTEN String Quartet No. 1 in D Major, Op. 25
  • SCHUBERT String Quartet in D Minor, D. 810, "Death and the Maiden"

Event Duration

The printed program will last approximately two hours, including one 20-minute intermission.


  • Endellion String Quartet 

    Among the finest quartets in the world, the Endellion String Quartet celebrates its 35th anniversary in the 2013-2014 season. Over the years, the quartet's schedule has included regular tours of North and South America and concerts in Australasia, the Far East, the Middle East, South Africa, and every West European country.

    In February 2013, the quartet presented a complete cycle of Beethoven's string quartets at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Other recent and upcoming engagements include concerts in South America, Canada, the US, Turkey, Switzerland, Holland, and other European countries. Warner Classics has just released a new recording by the ensemble of Britten's quartets, and further recordings are planned. In addition, the quartet continues its prestigious residency at the University of Cambridge (now in its 22nd year), presents a series at London's Wigmore Hall, and participates in the International Chamber Music Series at Queen Elizabeth Hall.

    In addition to its residency at Cambridge, the Endellion Quartet has undertaken three short-term residencies at MIT, and is the visiting quartet in association with the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. It has worked with guest artists that include members of the former Amadeus Quartet, Sir Thomas Allen, Joshua Bell, Michael Collins, Steven Isserlis, Mitsuko Uchida, and Tabea Zimmermann.

    The Endellion's 1987 EMI recording of Britten's complete chamber music for strings was selected as Chamber Music Recording of the Year by both the Daily Telegraph and the Guardian. The quartet has also recorded works by Haydn, Mozart, Bartók, Dvořák, Smetana, Foulds, Walton, Bridge, Schubert, Barber, Amy Beach, and Tchaikovsky. In 1998, EMI released Arcadiana, the Endellion Quartet's commission from Thomas Adès, on a disc that subsequently received the Editor's Choice award from Gramophone.

    More Info


Schubert's String Quartet in D Minor, D. 810, "Death and the Maiden" (Allegro)
Endellion String Quartet
Warner Classics

At a Glance

BENJAMIN BRITTEN  Three Divertimenti

As a young composer writing incidental music for government-sponsored documentary films, Britten was just beginning to win recognition for his concert music when the Three Divertimenti for string quartet received their first performance in London in 1936. Most reviewers were underwhelmed, one observing that "there was much play with technical devices, but little solid matter to justify the escapades." Stung by the criticism, Britten waited five years before writing another string quartet.

BENJAMIN BRITTEN  String Quartet No. 1 in D Major, Op. 25

Composed in 1941, at the tail end of his three-year sojourn in the US and Canada, Britten's first mature string quartet coincided with his discovery of the poetry of George Crabbe, which would bear fruit four years later in his operatic tragedy Peter Grimes. Although the composer would be increasingly preoccupied with opera over the next three decades, he found time to write two more quartets.

FRANZ SCHUBERT  String Quartet in D Minor, D. 810, "Death and the Maiden"

Toward the end of his short life, Schubert became fixated on the idea of writing a "grand symphony" on the scale of Beethoven's Ninth. Although that project never got off the drawing board, he hinted at its nature in the three great string quartets that he wrote between 1824 and 1826. Like its two companions, the D-Minor Quartet—which draws on thematic material from Schubert's song "Death and the Maiden"—is a work of majestic proportions and elaborate thematic development.

Program Notes
Britten 100
This performance is part of Quartets Plus.

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