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Castalian String Quartet

Every year, the Chamber Arts Society of Durham reserves one concert for a young and highly promising ensemble. This year that slot is filled by the London-based Castalian String Quartet. Hailed by The Guardian as “a feisty group, with a real personality and strong interpretative ideas,” this effervescent quartet is making its debut performances throughout the USA this season.

They begin their program with Haydn, whose six Opus 20 quartets are often considered the earliest truly mature pieces in the string quartet literature. Opus 20 #4 presents us with a group of warm friends in congenial conversation. The same kind of intimacy envelops Benjamin Britten’s third and final quartet (1976). Britten concentrates on two voices at a time, roaming through all six combinations possible in a group of four. Schubert’s majestic G-Major quartet, his 15th and final one, is marked by massive expansiveness and tortured inquisitiveness. The strife between modes, voices, melodies, and rhythms is relentless throughout.