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29th July 2023 6.30pm Concert by The Waldstein Quartet at North Stoke Church

Concert by The Waldstein Quartet: WHERE THE HEART IS : Elgar, Britten and Waller-Bridge.

Our composers whose work forms “Where the Heart Is” are all English. Elgar wrote his String Quartet in E minor at Brinkwells, his house in the woods near Fittleworth. His move from London to deep country was an old man’s escape from the Great War, illness, and the tensions of being famous. It released a flow of “wood” music which was a departure from what he had written before. Life at Brinkwells enabled an unexpected final phase to a renowned career.

In 1939 Benjamin Britten escaped from England to America with his friend Peter Pears. He was fleeing many personal pressures as well as the looming Second World War. He was 27 and trying to make his name in music. He intended to stay. He was lionised by musical America, and in 1941 he was commissioned to write a piece which became his First String Quartet in D major, first performed in Los Angeles. The circumstances of this completely original composition caused him to realise he was in the wrong place. He knew he had to get back to England. He and Pears made the dangerous Atlantic crossing the following Spring. Once in Suffolk, with the composition of the opera ‘Peter Grimes’, he never looked back.

The Waldstein Quartet, a young award-winning chamber group, will perform these pieces for us. They have a special enthusiasm for the Britten String Quartets and they will also be performing short pieces by an up-and-coming English composer, Isobel Waller-Bridge (aged 41). Her music will bridge the pieces by Elgar and Britten.

Elgar and Britten both revealed in their diaries and letters how these remarkable pieces came about. We are delighted that readers Matthew Bannister and Yvette Byrne are giving this fascinating extra dimension to the musical performance. At 5.30pm ahead of the performance, we are lucky enough to be holding a reception in the garden of North Stoke Farmhouse which is next to the Church. We hope we’ll see you there.

Tickets (to include the reception) are £18 from Janet Aidin

Tel 01798 872531

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