Maxwell Quartet

This young Scottish ensemble captivated us when they stood in at short notice in 2019, not only for their commanding performances of the main repertoire, but for their haunting and atmospheric arrangements of Scottish fiddle music.  The piano quartet Huw Watkins wrote for the Schubert Ensemble featured in our 2014-15 series, and we now welcome him in person as a pianist.  

Haydn's G minor quartet gets its nickname from the energetic syncopations of its finale which call to mind a galloping horse.  Schumann's piano quartet is inexplicably less well known than his quintet in the same key, and composed in the same year, 1842.  It is beloved of cellists for the haunting melody in its slow movement, although equally feared due to the demand to temporarily re-tune a string!  Like Schumann, a single year, 1918, saw the composition of Elgar's three greatest chamber works, including this quintet, just a year before his cello concerto - his last major composition.  

'Because they play the music as though they’ve known it all their lives, it seems to make perfect sense. Their Haydn should be enough to earn a recommendation on its own, but interspersed with Scottish tunes it points up Haydn’s way with folk tunes and rhythms and ends with the timeless beauty of Lady MacGregor’s Lament.'  Andrew MacGregor, BBC Radio 3