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Fitzwilliam String Quartet

Fitzwilliam String Quartet

The Fitzwilliam String Quartet is among the longest established string quartets in the world, it first became known internationally through its close personal association with Dmitri Shostakovich.




Bruckner: Quintet & Quartet
Bruckner: Quintet & Quartet
A historically informed performance of Bruckner's String Quintet with violist James Boyd. 

CKD 402  

Vaughan Williams: On Wenlock Edge
Vaughan Williams: On Wenlock Edge
A stunning collection of songs reminiscent of the idyllic English countryside. 

CKD 296  

Brahms: Clarinet Quintet
Brahms: Clarinet Quintet
A beautiful and historically notable programme of Brahms, Mozart, Glazunov and Sweeny. 

BKD 278  

The Seven Last Words
The Seven Last Words
A passionate and sensitive performance of Haydn's famous work 'The Seven Last Words'. 

CKD 153  

Fitzwilliam String Quartet

The Fitzwilliam String Quartet is now one of the longest-established string quartets in the world. Founded in Michaelmas Term 1968 by four Cambridge undergraduates, the quartet achieved international recognition from the very outset, as a result of its members’ personal friendship with Dmitri Shostakovich towards the end of his life and their championing of his string quartets following his death in 1975. He had entrusted them with the Western premieres of the last three, and before long they had become the first ever group to perform and record all fifteen quartets. Those discs, which won many international awards, secured the Fitzwilliam a worldwide concert schedule and a long-term contract with Decca/London, by which they explored some byways of the late Romantic repertoire (including Franck, Delius, Borodin and Sibelius) before embarking on a Beethoven cycle. The Shostakovich set was included in Gramophone’s ‘Hundred Greatest-Ever Recordings’ in November 2005. All these recordings are newly available on Universal’s London or Eloquence labels.

Generous private patronage has made possible the Fitzwilliam’s current collaboration with Linn, which began in 2000 with Haydn’s Seven Last Words and has continued with Brahms’s Clarinet Quintet (with Lesley Schatzberger) and an album of twentieth-century English song with James Gilchrist and Anna Tilbrook (this includes Vaughan Williams’s On Wenlock Edge and was a finalist in the 2009 Gramophone Awards). Further releases have appeared on Divine Art Records, beginning with the complete quartets of the eminent geologist John Ramsay, the latest of these a jazz-fusion collaboration with the German saxophonist-composer Uwe Steinmetz and former Turtle Island Quartet violinist Mads Tolling.

The Fitzwilliam remain one of the few prominent quartets to play on older set-ups, yet at the same time they have helped bring over 50 new works into the repertoire. They have maintained their pre-eminence as interpreters of Shostakovich, and also put the authority thus gained at the service of a range of other composers, from the late seventeenth century to the present day.

From Vaughan Williams in 2008 and Delius and Grainger to the Britten centenary in 2013, the players have enthusiastically used anniversaries to promote less familiar music: in 2015 they look further north, to mark the joint 150th birthdays of Glazunov, Sibelius and Nielsen.

Travels since the millennium have included four visits to Russia, which took in the St Petersburg Conservatoire, Pushkin’s House, the Sheremetev Palace, the Summer Palace at Peterhof and the former home of Modest and Pyotr Tchaikovsky. For most of their career they have been making regular trips to the USA, two of which included marathon three-hour events in the late Lorin Maazel’s private concert hall on his farm in Virginia. In 2008, their first journey to the snows of Newfoundland was followed by a Martin Randall Travel archaeological cruise from Athens to Istanbul that featured performances in a number of ancient amphitheatres en route. Further ventures abroad have taken the Fitzwilliam back to Italy, North America and South Africa (where they performed in Cape Town and Pretoria and made a recording of music by the Western Cape composer Michael Blake); they have since made their debuts in Luxembourg and Israel. At the beginning of 2013 they performed three movements of Britten’s String Quartet No. 3 for John Bridcut’s BBC4 film Britten’s Endgame; three weeks later they received a Delius Society award for services to the composer in his 150th anniversary year. Their continuing work on Beethoven has included a collaboration with Prof. Nancy November (University of Auckland, New Zealand) on a new edition of the string quartets for Henle. In July 2014 they embarked on a project to record English anthems with St Salvator’s Chapel Choir (University of St Andrews, Scotland).

After twelve years as quartet in residence at York University and three at Warwick, their university work continues at Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge, Bucknell University, Pennsylvania, and latterly at St Andrews, where they run an annual quartet course called Strings in Spring alongside their regular coaching weekend for Benslow Music in Hertfordshire.


For further information - www.fitzwilliamquartet.com
2016 Gramophone Award Shortlist Announced
01 August 2016
Dunedin Consort, Magnificat, Fitzwilliam String Quartet and Phantasm are named Finalists
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Tune in to 'In Tune'...
21 January 2010
The Fitzwilliams, James Gilchrist and Anna Tilbrook perform on Radio 3!
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Fitzwilliam Quartet celebrates its 40th Anniversary
12 February 2009
special concert planned
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Limelight Magazine
5 Stars
'To love Bruckner is to love this CD.'
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American Record Guide
'[The Intermezzo] is an interesting, charming movement that stands well on its own.'
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The Bruckner Journal
'...a performance that sounds absolutely wonderful...The deeply felt lyrical passages with which this music abounds, in this performance should melt the stoniest of hearts...'
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Fanfare Magazine
'The playing articulates with great subtlety the Romantic abundance of Bruckner's slow movements-the Adagio to the quintet is especially gorgeous-while not shying away from the bizarre and kinky writing in the scherzos and finales and in the Intermezzo. Linn's recording and the acoustic of the recording venue are ideal.'
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BBC Music Magazine
5 Stars
'Tender warmth radiates from page after page, dialogue between the voices emerges with keen, intimate intensity. The great Adagio is as exalted and touching as it should be. All round a fascinating, rewarding disc.'
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AllMusic
'The lucid performances by the Fitzwilliam String Quartetmake the music immediately intelligible and appealing. Joined by violist James Boyd in the Quintet, the ensemble produces a warm and radiant sound that dispels any worries of Brucknerian complexity, and even in the pensive Quartet, the playing is ingratiating and quite evocative of Schubert, a key influence in early Bruckner.'
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Herald Scotland
'What's intriguing in these outstanding performances by the Fitzwilliam Quartet with guest violist James Boyd are the myriad seedbed elements to be heard in the early String Quartet, and just how effectively the colossal Bruckner sound translates into a chamber music idiom in the Quintet.'
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Gramophone
'The relaxed swing they bring to the Scherzo and Trio recalls the Fifth like no previous recording...'
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Crescendo
4 Stars
« Deux beaux témoignages de musique pure jaillie de l'imagination d'un artiste, dont les imperfections formelles - étonnant paradoxe - confinent presque toujours à la beauté. »
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MusicWeb International
Recording of the Month: '...their hushed close to the Adagio of the Quintet is exquisite.'
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Bach Track
'...this was a performance that communicated splendidly the work's generous and tender heart and the profundity of its composer's vision.'
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MusicWeb International
Recording of the Month: "This is a challenging disc for all the right reasons."
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MusicWeb International
"...Striking..."
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Mid-Sussex Citizen
Fascinating musical fare.
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Pizzicato (German)
5 Stars
An outstanding review from the German publication
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MU Magazine
Recommended.
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Ensemble
5 Stars
Eine in samtener Mehrkanalräumlichkeit - die Klarinette ist geschwisterlich in den Streicherklang eingebettet-wunderschöne und enentbehrliche Aufnahme!
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Ensemble
5 Stars
this is a beautiful and indispensable recording
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Fanfare US
Everything about this reading is so beautifully shaded and perfectly balanced ...
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Gramophone
A fascinating and attractive performance
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Clarinet & Saxophone
An interesting and thrilling album.
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BBC Music Magazine
5 Stars
Five out of five for both performance and sound from the BBC Music Magazine
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MusicWeb
"This is a challenging disc for all the right reasons..."
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The Herald
5 Stars
...so creamy you will melt away.
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International Record Review
A historically informed performance with a remarkable range of colours. Recommended.
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Audiophile Audition
'This music pulses with the ferment of eternal youth.'
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Atlanta Audio Society
A "vibrant" recording
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Early Music News
a superb performance of these marvellous pieces
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The Scotsman
playing that is pure, sensitive and, where called for, gorgeously passionate
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Scotland on Sunday
a fascinating insight
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10 December 2017 to 10 December 2017
England
Hepworth Gallery, Gallery Walk, Wakefield WF1 5AW England United Kingdom


03 March 2018 to 04 March 2018
England
Lecture weekend at Fitzwilliam College, Storey's Way, Cambridge CB3 0DG England United Kingdom
WIGMORE'S WORLD

11 March 2018 to 11 March 2018
England
Stokesley Methodist Church,, High Street Stokesley Middlesbrough TS9 5AX England United Kingdom
TEESSIDE MUSIC SOCIETY

22 March 2018 to 22 March 2018
England, London
TBC, Walthamstow, London England United Kingdom
MUSIC IN THE VILLAGE

24 March 2018 to 24 March 2018
England
TBC, Bollington, Cheshire England United Kingdom


24 March 2018 to 24 March 2018
England
TBC, Bollington, Cheshire England United Kingdom


25 March 2018 to 25 March 2018
England
TBC, Lake District England United Kingdom
Keswick Music Society

05 April 2018 to 08 April 2018
Scotland
Byre Theatre, St Andrews, Scotland United Kingdom
STRINGS IN SPRING

27 April 2018 to 30 April 2018
Wales
Hay Chamber Music Festiva, Hay-on-Wye, Wales United Kingdom


13 May 2018 to 13 May 2018
England, London
The Old Church, Stoke Newington, London N16 9ES England United Kingdom
Sutton House Music Society

25 May 2018 to 26 May 2018
England
Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge CB3 0DG England United Kingdom
WIGMORE'S WORLD

09 September 2018 to 09 September 2018
England, London
CONWAY HALL, 25 Red Lion Square, London WC1R 4RL England United Kingdom


02 November 2018 to 02 November 2018
England
TBC, Leamington Spa England United Kingdom
Anniversary Concert: Bruckner Quintet