Fitzwilliam String Quartet – 24 July 2021

Our next concert will be on Saturday 24th July at 7pm.

Hosting the illustrious Fitzwilliam String Quartet is one of our most popular, and regular, concert events – and this year’s Programme is as special as tradition demands!

We shall hear two of the greatest works in the String Quartet genre:

1. String Quartet No.16 in E Flat, K428, by Mozart

Mozart composed 23 string quartets. The six “Haydn” Quartets were written in Vienna during the years 1782 to 1785. They are dedicated to Joseph Haydn, considered the creator of the String Quartet form, as it has been known since his day. Haydn first heard the six quartets dedicated to him by Mozart at two gatherings at Mozart’s home in 1785. After hearing them all, Haydn made the now-famous remark to Mozart’s father Leopold, who was visiting from Salzburg:

“Before God, and as an honest man, I tell you that your son is the greatest composer known to me either in person or by name. He has taste, and, what is more, the most profound knowledge of composition.”

After that, any further comment is superfluous. The Quartet we shall hear tonight, K428, was composed in 1783, and is the 3rd in the “Haydn” series. Sit back and hear it for yourselves!

2.  String Quartet in F major, Op. 77, No. 2 by Josef Haydn

The Quartet in F major, Op. 77, No. 2, Haydn’s very last complete quartet, is filled with the vigour of a far younger composer but with the craft of an experienced and confident composer. It was finished in 1799, eight years after the death of Mozart.


The first movement’s simple and graceful main theme is unhurriedly developed in Haydn’s masterful fashion. The inner movements reverse their usual order, with the Minuet as the second movement. Haydn, rarely missing a chance to display his sense of humour, plays jokes with rhythm in a peasant dance theme while keeping us guessing about the meter, including a few “wrong beat” entrances. The beautiful third movement, Andante, begins with a stately duet between the first violin and the cello, and the theme is then being passed between the instruments. The last movement, marked Vivace, is a spirited folk dance. The quartet is often identified by a nickname,“Wait Till the Clouds Roll By,” which was a popular song of the late 1800s. Haydn wrote over 80 string quartets, so people often identified the quartets by nicknames not chosen by the composer!


In addition to these main works, the concert will be leavened by Hugo Wolf’s brief “Italian Serenade”, a 7-minute piece of sheer delight!

When booking your places, please note (i) several advance bookings have already been made (in the usual way) by audience members at last Saturday’s concert; and (ii) String Quartets take up more floor-space than soloists, duos or trios, and this obviously affects the number of seats we are able to accommodate. 


Therefore please let me have your reservations as soon as possible – it was necessary to have a waiting-list for last Saturday’s concert, but there were no cancellations! 

Make the evening a real treat – arrive at 6.15 to enjoy Anita’s beautiful garden with a pre-concert glass of wine or fruit juice. As usual, the concert will be followed by a light buffet. For full booking instructions, including suggested donations, please have a look at our concerts page.

And a final note: although this will be our first post-freedom-day concert, we shall nevertheless maintain our policy of keeping an ample circulation of fresh air throughout the evening.


With much appreciation of your continued support for upholding Maxability’s role in society, we hope to see you soon.