String Quartets

One of classical music’s most enduring combinations of instruments is the string quartet. This line-up, featuring two violins, one viola and one cello, has been a favourite of many composers for the last 250 years. When you see and hear a string quartet perform, it’s like listening in on a fascinating conversation amongst a family or a group of good friends.

Here’s a clip of music by the talented Carducci String Quartet.

Carducci String Quartet © Andy Holdsworth Photography

Carducci String Quartet © Andy Holdsworth Photography


The Carducci String Quartet is one of Britain’s most admired chamber music groups of their generation. They know each other very well – not just because they practise and perform a lot together, but because they are two married couples! Matt, the first violin, is married to Emma the cellist. And Michelle, the second violinist, is married to Eoin the viola player. They have two children each – and who knows, they might form a string quartet one day as well!

The string quartet is one of the most popular chamber ensembles in classical music. Chamber music is written for a small group of instruments – traditionally small enough to fit comfortably in a palace chamber or a large room. One performer plays each part of the music, almost like a dialogue, as opposed to orchestral music where each part is played by a number of performers or a whole section of the orchestra.

The Carduccis are playing here a lively movement from String Quartet No6 in F Minor, Op.80 by German composer Felix Mendelssohn. He wrote it in 1847, just two months before he died – it was the last piece of work he completed.