Starter for 54th season of music club

TONY COOPER The Norfolk and Norwich Music Club opens its 54th season this Saturday, October 2, with a concert at the John Innes Centre, Colney Lane, Norwich, by the Allegri String Quartet, who, this year, are celebrating their 50th anniversary.

TONY COOPER

The Norfolk and Norwich Music Club opens its 54th season this Saturday, October 2, with a concert at the John Innes Centre, Colney Lane, Norwich, by the Allegri String Quartet, who, this year, are celebrating their 50th anniversary.

The members of the quartet are Peter Carter and Rafael Todes (violins), Dorothea Vogel (viola) and Pal Banda (cello).

They will be playing Schubert's Quartet no 13 in A minor and Haydn's Quartet no 83 in D minor, op 103, as well as Brahms' Piano Quintet in F minor, op 34. Mark Swarzentruber is the pianist.

In 1799, Prince Lubkowitz, the leading patron of the arts in Vienna, commissioned Haydn to write six quartets. The composer, however, was an old man at the time and, although he still had plenty of inspiration, his stamina was sapping.

In the event he only completed two of the quartets and finished two movements of a third quartet, which is being played at this concert and published under opus 103.

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The Schubert quartet – commonly known as the Rosamunde – was the only one of his known to have been publicly performed and published in his lifetime. It had its first performance by the famous Schuppanzigh Quartet in Vienna in March 1824.

Despite its enduring popularity, Brahms' Piano Quintet had a somewhat uncertain start. The composer's first idea was to compose a string quintet with two cellos and when he showed the first drafts to Clara Schumann in 1862 she immediately went into raptures of delight saying that it was a masterpiece.

It was Clara who suggested arrangement for piano and string quartet. In this form it was an instant success at its first performance at the Leipzig Conservatoire in June 1863. This concert will be one of great sadness for Peter Carter, the leader of the quartet, as it will be his last visit to the music club. He is retiring after being with the quartet from its outset.

He was originally second violin and replaced Hugh Macquire as first when he retired from quartet playing in 1976. He was born in Durban, South Africa, in 1935, and is the fourth generation of his family to have been a professional musician in London.

His fellow violinist, Rafael Todes, was previously a member of the Schidlof Quartet. He was born in London in 1966 and studied at the Guildhall School of Music, London, with Yfrah Neaman and Jack Glickman, receiving coaching from György Kurtág, Menahem Pressler and Sigmund Nissel.

The violist Dorothea Vogel, who studied in Switzerland, the USA and in London, has travelled the world with the World Youth Symphony Orchestra and the Gustav Mahler Youth Orchestra.

The cellist Pál Banda, who was born and educated in Budapest, followed in his father's footsteps. His teachers included György Kurtág, Ralph Kirschbaum, Sandor Vegh as well as his father, Ede, who was cellist in the Tatrai Quartet.

Mark Swartzentruber, born in Washington DC, studied piano with John Ogden before moving to London to study with Maria Curcio, the eminent protégé of Artur Schnabel. He made his British début in 1991 and his London appearances have included solo recitals at the Queen Elizabeth Hall and the Purcell Room on the South Bank.

t Tickets £10, students/unemployed £4, from Prelude Records, St Giles', Norwich, telephone 01603 621169

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