One of the UK’s most loved string quartets celebrates its 50th birthday with old friends in a performance of Mendelssohn’s Octet, one of the masterworks in the chamber music canon, and Tchaikovsky’s Souvenir de Florence
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. In this mouth-watering performance, they combine a rare performance of the original 1825 version of Mendelssohn’s Octet, ‘one of the miracles of nineteenth-century music’ (Conrad Wilson) with a Fitzwilliam favourite, Tchaikovksy’s Souvenir de Florence, one of the composer’s happiest works.
‘…The Fitzwilliam Quartet, whom I admire very much. Thank you for a superlative performance of my thirteenth quartet.’
‘The Fitzwilliam String Quartet, in my opinion, is, and has been for many years, Britain’s premier string quartet ensemble…….a flagship British ensemble that should be the pride of that nation.’