thu 28/08/2014

The Seckerson Tapes: The Elias String Quartet | Classical music reviews, news & interviews

The Seckerson Tapes: The Elias String Quartet

The former Radio 3 New Generation Artists are embarking on a complete cycle of Beethoven's quartets

First among equals: the Elias String Quartet

The vibrant Elias String Quartet are 14 years young, well established, and well respected on the international scene. Former BBC Radio 3 New Generation Artists and recipients of a Borletti-Buitoni Trust Award in 2010, they are at that major crossroads in any quartet's life when they embark upon a complete cycle of the Beethoven Quartets. Unusually the quartet have decided to chronicle their preparation and progress through a revealing website.

Further insights are offered with this audio podcast, in which Marie Bitlloch (cello) and Donald Grant (second violin) - one half of the quartet led by Marie's sister Sarah Bitlloch and completed by violist Martin Saving – talk about this testing odyssey. The conversation, interspersed with telling clips from two of the quartets, takes an honest and frank look, not just at the challenges thrown up by Beethoven's extraordinary "16" but at the quartet's working methods and democratic "first among equals" philosophy. It doesn't take an Old Testament prophet - their namesake - to predict that when the complete cycle is launched in earnest at the Sheldonian Theatre in Oxford in November the Elias String Quartet will be testing those who think they know the quartets well to think again.

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