The most perfect expression of human behaviour is a string quartet.
Jeffrey Tate

Associated with the three concerts are three talks by Prof Mike Worboys that set the music to be played in the wider context of the string quartet form.

 A string quartet can be either a group of four string players (two violins, viola and cello) or a piece of music that these players can play. String quartets of both forms have existed from the 1750’s to the present day. They represent one of the finest and most expressive musical forms and one that has been taken up by almost all the leading composers.

The lectures introduce this art form to a general audience. No prior musical knowledge is assumed. The lectures will cover general background, history, context and cultural significance, as well as taking a closer look at some key string quartets, including those to be performed in the concerts. The course will be supported by audio and video examples. Attendance at the concerts, while desirable, is not essential as the course can be followed independently of the live performances.

All lectures will take place in the Berwick Parish Centre. There will be an interval in which tea and coffee will be served. 



1-3pm, 15 August: The Art of the String Quartet I. 

This lecture will discuss the following: What is a string quartet? Instruments, general setting, structure, early examples, and focus on the works to be played on Aug 24th by the Dulcinea Quartet (works by Mozart, Barber and Schubert).

1-3pm, 5 September: The Art of the String Quartet II.

Lecture Two in the series will chart the historical development of the string quartet and some of its most renowned ensembles, and review the works to be performed on Sep 11th by the Frankland Quartet (works by Haydn, Medeksaite and Ravel). 

1-3pm, 14 November: The Art of the String Quartet III.

Lecture Three will select a bucket list of “unmissable” string quartets and review the works to be performed on November 21st by Quatuor Bozzini (Weeks, Worboys, Shostakovich).