The first period instrument quartet to be selected as BBC New Generation Artists, the Consone Quartet are fast making a name for themselves with their honest and expressive interpretations of classical and early romantic repertoire. Formed in 2012 at the Royal College of Music in London, the Consone were winners of the 2016 Royal Over-Seas League Ensemble Prize in London.
The quartet has been enthusiastically received at London's Wigmore Hall, St Martin-in-the-Fields and at the Edinburgh, Cheltenham, Bath and King's Lynn Festivals and have toured extensively in Europe and South America.
Consone always enjoy collaborating with fellow musicians, including the Fitzwilliam String Quartet, Hanover Band, Anneke Scott, and Mahan Esfahani, and are currently appointed at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama as Chamber Music Fellows for 2020/2021.
Joseph Haydn (1732-1809) : String Quartet in Bb major Op 33 no 4.
The Op. 33 String Quartets composed in 1781 were known as the Russian quartets, because of their dedication to the Grand Duke Paul of Russia. It was a decade since Haydn had composed quartets, and his style was now lighter and emphasised the 'conversation between four instruments' in a more fluid and sophisticated manner.
In number 4, the witty and puckish first movement gives way to a courtly minuet which is scherzo only in name. Following this, a meditative and rapt Eb major Largo seems to be more in keeping with the Op 76 quartets of fifteen years later. However, Haydn was ever the joker, and the spirited rondo finale with its gypsy themes and slapstick moments ends the work with great good humour.
Fanny Mendelssohn (1805-1847) : String Quartet in Eb Maj.
Adagio ma non troppo
Allegro molto vivace
Fanny Mendelssohn, older sister of Felix, was a composer of over 400 works, a skilled pianist and was educated in music with her much loved brother. Her musical career was sadly much curtailed by society's restrictions on women's roles at that time. Fanny's music reflects her deep reverence for both Bach and Beethoven and the String Quartet in E flat major, (her only string quartet) was composed in 1834.
Opening with an Adagio in C minor the music expresses a quiet anguish in keeping with Fanny's passionate nature, followed by a cheerful scherzo, with some elfin touches not unlike those of her brother. A poignant Romanze in G minor explores distant modulations before a vivacious finale brings this elegiac and lyrical work to a close.
Franz Schubert (1797–1828) : Quartettsatz D 703
The Quartettsatz was composed by Schubert in December 1820 as the first movement of a string quartet he was never to complete. The work is regarded as the first phase of the composer's mature output and bears similarities to the 'Unfinished' symphony with a superbly lyrical opening which unusually only returns in the spirited closing coda.
Felix Mendelssohn (1809-18470): String Quartet in D Maj. Op.44/1
Molto allegro vivace
Menuetto: Un poco allegretto
Andante espressivo ma con moto
Presto con brio
Written in 1837-8, Mendelssohn started the mature Op 44 quartets during his honeymoon and they were among his favourite works. In addition to composing he was already pianist, organist, chamber musician and conductor of the famous Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, finding fame with the international musical community.
After the quartet's exuberant and confident first movement , the gentle Menuetto and wistful slow movement provide a very contrasting mood without descending into sentiment. Interestingly, Mendelssohn, finishes the piece with a brilliant driving saltarello, an energetic 16th century dance form which he had used in the finale of his Italian Symphony.