Most respected’ quartet to perform

England s oldest string quartet, the Allegri, will be the visiting musicians at Sidmouth Concert Society s next concert

England's oldest string quartet, the Allegri, will be the visiting musicians at Sidmouth Concert Society's next concert.

Founded in 1953 by the distinguished violinist Eli Goren, it has also been described as the most 'respected' quartet. It goes without saying that after more than 50 years there have been personnel changes and now the current members, Ofer Falk, Pal Banda, Dorothea Vogel and Rafael Todes, carry on the great tradition, bringing a wealth of experience from around the world.

In the coming year the Allegri players will be touring in Canada and Turkey, as well as here at home. They always try to give support to contemporary British composers such as Alexander Goehr, Jonathan Harvey, James Macmillan and Colin Matthews.

But living composers will not find a place in the Sidmouth concert on December 6, which will keep to a well trodden path, opening with one of Haydn's Sun Quartets, so called because the cover of the first edition was decorated with an image of the rising sun. The E flat Quartet, from his Op.20, is full of great passion and intense emotions.

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A much later work will be Benjamin Britten's poignant Third Quartet, written when the composer was terminally ill after undergoing a heart operation that was not completely successful. One of his very last works, it was written during 1975 and 1976 and seems to look back over his creative life, recapturing the imaginative poetry of earlier years. Appropriately named Serenissima, the last movement recalls a final short visit to Venice, when he was confined to a wheelchair.

The last work in the programme will be what many think to be the greatest string quartet ever written - the C# minor, Op.131, by Beethoven. In this work he explored the depth of the human soul with a full range of emotions from pain and anguish, to joy and wonder. With the other 'Late' quartets it forms a spiritual summing-up of the composer's life.

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This concert will give an opportunity to hear one of the world's greatest quartets playing some of the world's greatest music.

Non members of the society are welcome at the concert. Tickets may be obtained from Paragon Books, or at the door.

The concert will take place at 7.30pm on Saturday, December 6, at the Manor Pavilion.

John Dalton

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