Endellion Quartet

FRANK CLIFF Bury St Edmunds Festival event at the Theatre Royal, Bury St Edmunds


The Endellion celebrate their 25th anniversary this season, quite an achievement in the hard world of string quartet playing and they join the Amadeus and the Lindsays, I guess, in the longevity stakes.

Always immaculately prepared, there is also an immediacy that gives an edge to their playing, apparent in the reading of Mendelssohn's turbulent F minor quartet, the last work he completed before his early death.

Like Mendelssohn, the young Thomas Ades has had a meteoric rise to fame as composer, performer and conductor. His creativity seems boundless and it is to the Endellion's credit that as long as 10 years ago they commissioned a string quartet from him.

The result was Arcadia, seven short movements whose “meaning” may be difficult to comprehend but which at first hearing reveal Ades's magical ear for the potential of the string quartet. Brilliantly executed, the work made an immediate impression on the audience.

Shortly to record the complete Mozart viola quintets for the BBC, the Endellion – with James Boyd as second viola – ended with the G minor quintet. Ingenously described by leader Andrew Watkinson as a trial, this performance was, as ever, immaculately prepared and a sheer delight.

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