Sunday 24th April at 4.00pm in St Stephen's Church

AURORA STRING QUARTET

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Widely acknowledged as the foremost string quartet in the Highlands, Springfest '22 is honoured to welcome the Aurora Quartet to open this chamber music festival of six concerts.

Simon Evans and Rachel Farmer (violins), Adam Csenki (viola) and Ian Sharp (cello) are regularly heard performing for Cromarty Arts Trust but are delighted to be crossing the Beauly Firth into Inverness to perform their early 2022 programme.

Franz Schubert  :  Quartettsatz in C minor, D703

Jean Sibelius  :  Andante Festivo

Hugo Wolf  :  Italian Serenade in G major

Interval

Ludwig van Beethoven  :  String Quartet No 8 in E minor, Op 59 No 2 "Razumovsky"

i. Allegro; ii. Molto Allegro;  iii. Allegretto;  iv. Finale. Presto.

Schubert was no stranger to unfinished compositions.  Just think of the well known 8th Symphony and three unfinished symphonies in D major (D615, D708A and D936A) that pop up from time to time.  So it was with his 12th String Quartet which he started in December 1820 after being inspired by a Schubertiade held at the home of Ignaz von Sonnleithner.  The opening movement, Allegro Assai, survives as the Quartettsatz, D703 and the are 41 bars of an Andante after which Schubert appears to have moved on to other things.

In 1922 Sibelius was asked to compose a cantata to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the plywood mill at Saynatsalo, an island in the Finnish lakes about 160 miles north of Helsinki.  It would have fitted the style of the times to have come up with a work that reflected the mechanical sounds of the mill, but instead Sibelius took his inspiration from nature and the local forests resulting in this Andante Festivo for string quartet.  In 1938 he arranged the piece for string orchestra with timpani and a recording of it made for radio in New York remains the only example of Sibelius conducting his own work.  He was justly very attached to this example of almost sacred solemnity and it was played at his funeral in 1957.

Hugo Wolf was another composer who left a series of unfinished works.  His Italian Serenade for string quartet was composed in just two days in May 1887 at the end of a prolonged period of depression, making its light-hearted nature all the more remarkable.  In 1892 he returned to the work intending to add a further two or three movements.  In the event, Wolf's gradual descent into total insanity sadly prevented the work's completion, although in 1897 he sketched 40 bars of a tarantella while in a lunatic asylum.

Beethoven's String Quartet no. 8, was the second of three of his "Razumovsky" cycle of string quartets, and a product of his "middle" period.  The third movement uses a Russian theme "Glory to the Sun" which Beethoven used in an ungentle way. According to the American musicologist Joseph Kerman, "It sounds as though Count Razumovsky had been tactless enough to hand Beethoven the tune, and Beethoven is pile-driving it into the ground by way of revenge."

Doors to St Stephen's Church will open at 3.30pm. 

Admission costs £10.  Under 16s FREE. 

Payment by cash or card.     

Tickets may be pre-booked by email to jamesdmunro@btinternet.com

Street parking available in Mayfield Road

Please park with consideration for householders