The Fitzwilliam Quartet & The Consone Quartet

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Mendelssohn Octet (first version), introduced by Richard Wigmore

These two distinguished Quartets, Fitzwilliam with nearly 50 years of pedigree and Consone emerging and already making waves here and abroad, come together to present a day of fascinating period instrument interpretation and performance, including two of the greatest and most popular masterpieces in the repertoire. Beethoven’s Op 130 with the composer’s original finale the massive Große Fuge remains enigmatic and repays constant delving and a great deal of experience and love. Its enigma and paradoxes have provoked much attention, and Stravinsky himself encapsulated its fascination and magnetism in 1963, saying it is ‘an absolutely contemporary piece of music that will be contemporary forever’. There is no quartet better placed than Fitzwilliam to give an interpretation on period gut strings that is searching and rewarding of this work, recreating the original impact.

Consone specialise on period instruments with gut strings, and have studied with The Fitzwilliam’s leader Lucy Russell. In great demand at not only early music festivals, their travels recently have included Belgium, Bulgaria, France and Italy, concentrating on the classical period. Their programme intriguingly offers Mendelssohn’s Op 12 String Quartet which was composed just a very few years after Beethoven’s Op 130 was first performed, during a period when the composer was immersing himself in Beethoven’s late quartets.

Both quartets join together to close the day with a performance of the rare and fascinating first version of the 16 year old Mendelssohn’s Octet, an opportunity to experience the full surge of such a precocious talent. Richard Wigmore will introduce and contextualise this performance with illustrations from the music.


14 July 2017


4.30pm  - 5.30pm




St John's Church

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