Creating a Buzz with All 17 Beethoven String Quartets; Music Lovers from across the Country Will Be Descending on Bromsgrove at the Weekend for the Town's Beethovenfest with the Dante Quartet. CHRISTOPHER MORLEY Reports

The Birmingham Post (England), October 27, 2016 | Go to article overview

Creating a Buzz with All 17 Beethoven String Quartets; Music Lovers from across the Country Will Be Descending on Bromsgrove at the Weekend for the Town's Beethovenfest with the Dante Quartet. CHRISTOPHER MORLEY Reports


FOR more decades than they would care to admit, Jennie McGregor-Smith and Jim Page have been guiding lights in the perhaps surprisingly busy musical life of Bromsgrove, market town in the north of Worcestershire.

Together they presided over Bromsgrove Concert Club (later Bromsgrove Concerts) for many years, hosting its events through a variety of venues, they launched the innovative Mixing Music contemporary series, Jennie founded the wonderful summery Celebrating English Song series in Tardebigge's atmospheric Parish Church, and they organised autumn weekends devoted to the complete string quartets of Beethoven, Bartok and Shostakovich, among others.

This weekend they are returning to all 17 of Beethoven's string quartets for what might be their swansong as promoters. It's not merely a question of booking the performers (in this case the enthusiastic Dante Quartet), but also arranging catering for those subscribers going for the long haul, and advising about transport and accommodation.

And listeners will be arriving from all over the country, as Jim tells me.

"They're coming from far and wide, and the Premier Inn next to the Artrix is booked out with visitors from Ashbourne, Brixham, Chelmsford, Cheltenham, Dorchester, Kendal, Nailsworth, Nottingham, Oxford, Penryn, Pinner, Rochdale, Sussex, Wichenford and Yelverton."

Jennie describes her personal motivation in organising such a weekend.

"The main reason for me is that I love the music, and hearing so much by one composer in so short a time really is so stimulating. It's 17 years since Bromsgrove last heard all Beethoven's string quartets - played by the Coull Quartet in 1998 - so we thought it about time we had another opportunity. And we know that there are lots of quartet enthusiasts who really get excited at the thought of them all played together."

Jennie goes on to tell me how she and Jim came to choose the Dante Quartet as performers, and how the programming order of these 17 works was decided upon.

"The Dante came to Bromsgrove Concerts a year or so ago and played Beethoven so movingly that when we had the idea of having yet another Beethoven weekend they were the first that came to mind. …

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Creating a Buzz with All 17 Beethoven String Quartets; Music Lovers from across the Country Will Be Descending on Bromsgrove at the Weekend for the Town's Beethovenfest with the Dante Quartet. CHRISTOPHER MORLEY Reports
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