25th Anniversary: 1988 to 2013
The Magginis celebrations of their 25th anniversary have included the commissioning of a new string quartet from celebrated Scottish composer Stuart MacRae. One of the most exciting and accomplished composers of his generation, Stuart MacRae had already received commissions from the BBC and London Sinfonietta by his mid-twenties, as well as being appointed Composer-in-Association with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra and featuring at the Edinburgh Festival. For the Magginis this continues a prestigious line of association with the composers of Scotland. Sir Peter Maxwell Davies wrote his ten Naxos quartets for them, and James MacMillan’s Second Quartet was a Maggini commission.
The Quartet greatly enjoyed their tour of Germany last autumn, with warm welcomes and lovely venues at Walkenrieder, Goettingen and Halle. Other recent European activities have included visits to Spain, the Netherlands and Switzerland, and they will return to France in autumn 2014.
The Quartet have also made their debutin in Dubai, where in addition to a concert in the prestigious Master Series for the Dubai Concert Committee they gave workshops and concerts featuring the première of a piece by the Dubai-based composer Joanna Marsh.
The Magginis return to Norway every summer for their annual concert and coaching visit organised by the Norwegian Chamber Music Society. Their time is divided between Nansenskolen, near Lillehammer, and Sund Folkehogskole, near Trondheim.
The Magginis’ new collaboration with Meridian Records will see them recording the complete Mendelssohn quartets. Volume I was released in January 2013 and features the String Quartet in E minor Op.44 No.2, Four Pieces for String Quartet Op.81 and the String Quartet in F minor Op.80. The second CD of the series, featuring Op.13 and Op 44.No.1, was recorded in April 2013.
The Glory of the English String Quartet:
celebrating British chamber music thorough concerts and recordings
The Magginis are renowned for their authoritative interpretations of English chamber music. Their ongoing series of concerts and recordings for Naxos, the Glory of the English String Quartet, celebrates the rich and diverse English string quartet repertoire, much of which has sadly fallen into neglect over the last century. Using their unparalleled experience in this repertoire, the Maggini Quartet offer carefully devised all-English or mixed programmes of classical quartets alongside English works to suit every occasion and venue.
The Quartet are joining the celebrations marking the centenary of the birth of Benjamin Britten with performances including a ‘Britten Weekend’ on 19 and 20 January 2013 featuring all three of the composer’s string quartets at the John Innes Centre in Norwich. Despite the snowy conditions the performances attracted substantial and enthuiastic audiences.
Last year saw the Quartet performing a 3-concert series featuring Frank Bridge’s four string quartets in the Turner Sims Hall at Southampton University. Andrew Clements, writing in the Guardian, wrote of the Maggini’s performance in the first concert, ‘Their lucid presentation of both large-scale structure and rhythmic and harmonic detail was exemplary.’ These works are amongst the finest quartets written in the 20th century and the Maggini has already recorded them for Naxos’s award winning British Music series. ‘These are exemplary, scrupulously prepared readings from the Magginis’, wrote Andrew Achenbach for Gramophone, where the recordings were CD of the Month and Editor’s Choice, with Bridge 1 and 3 also nominated for a Grammy Award.
In 2011 the Magginis also featured John Ireland. They were joined by Robert Plane (clarinet) and Stephen Sterling (horn) for a series of concerts in Northern England showcasing his Sextet, and they revisited this magnificent work for a concert in Norwich this spring. They would like to thank the John Ireland Trust for the generous support of these performances.
Lighting the way
Inspired by specialist lighting at the Mazer in Stockholm, the Maggini’s four-armed standard lamp was made for them by renowned restorer and cabinet maker Martin Huggett and is regularly used to light the players’ music at performances.
The Naxos Quartets
This unique collaboration between the Maggini Quartet and Sir Peter Maxwell Davies saw the composition, performance and recording of ten new string quartets over a five-year period. The repertoire generated enormous enthusiasm from audiences and critics, with The Times calling the Naxos cycle ‘a 21st century landmark’. Canterbury Christ Church University, where the Quartet have a long standing residency, has collected a major archive of the whole project, including recordings of performances, rehearsals and workshops.