Beethoven and Britten
CHAMBER MUSIC AT WOOLMERS
Tasmanian String Quartet Emma McGrath violin Jennifer Owen violin Douglas Coghill viola Jonathan Békés cello
BEETHOVEN String Quartet No 16 in F, Op 135 BRITTEN String Quartet No 2 in C, Op 36
The Tasmanian String Quartet returns to historic Woolmers Estate with two key chamber works. Headlining the concert is Beethoven’s String Quartet Op 135, which is not only his final string quartet, but his final completed work in any medium. Was Beethoven solemn and serious at the end of his life? Not at all judging from this upbeat and jovial work. That said, the beautiful slow movement mines a more contemplative vein.
Britten’s String Quartet No 2 dates from a time in the composer’s life when his career was just taking off – it was premièred in 1945, a matter of months after his career-breakthrough opera, Peter Grimes. The quartet was written in honour of 17th-century composer Henry Purcell and premièred precisely 250 years to the day since Purcell died. Its monumental finale is a grand set of variations, a favourite form of Purcell’s (and of late-period Beethoven, for that matter).