Jubilee Quartet released their debut album in 2019. Their quartet’s recording of Haydn quartets received critical acclaim including from The Sunday Times who wrote “The Jubilee…are impressive. Their approach is warm rather than overcharged with energy, their elegant but honest eloquence especially affecting in the slow movements.” Now, for their next project, the Jubilee Quartet focusses on Schuberts chamber music. A project with featuring two albums: This first recording will be of String Quartet Nos.10 & 15, and the second album will bring ‘Death and the Maiden’ and ‘Quartettsatz’ D703. Jubilee Quartet are releasing the first of two albums of Schubert quartets on 25 November on Rubicon Classics.
How did the four of you meet? And where does the name Jubilee Quartet come from?
The Jubilee Quartet was founded in 2006 and the name was inspired by the London Underground as all four members shared the same commute to the Royal Academy of Music.
As a quartet you also participate in social engagement. During the pandemic, you focused on an online initiative called Jubilee String Quartet Academy. During this project you put the importance of music education in the picture and for your contribution you received multiple awards. What motivated you to start this initiative in this?
We always dreamed of starting our own Academy and when Covid cleared our concert diary there was no doubt this would be the first project we wanted to take on. Streaming the Academy online and live was a challenge but it worked. We love teaching and specifically we love teaching string quartets, it is a unique discipline. We will continue to run online and in-person versions of our Academy in the future.
In 2018, you recorded your debut album with Haydn quartets and later released it in 2019. Now, you have a project on releasing two Schubert cd’s — the first one coming out this month and the second one is planned for next year. What made you want to start this new project?
The Jubilee Quartet has established its sound in Haydn compositions. When we started working on Schubert quartets it happened to be a natural transition for us, we found another dimension to our sound and since Schubert’s writing suits us so well we wanted our next release to be exactly these quartets.
What do you think is the appealing power of Schubert’s string quartets? The possible reason why people look for new interpretations of the music?
Schubert quartets are the epitome of life being expressed by music, from youthful works inspired by his teachers to late works symbolising pain as well as being reconciled with faith. All emotions need to be expressed rhetorically, we believe this is the major attraction to these phenomenal works.
With Schubert as the composer of choice, how did you decide which quartets you wanted to record and how you’d pair for the albums?
We decided the repertoire for these albums based on character of the works, their size and because we couldn’t fit all Schubert works on two albums, we left out the ones we could pair at a later date as well, such as Rosamunde and the string quintet. Every quartet’s dream is to record the famous Death and the Maiden and the Jubilee Quartet fell in love with the G major quartet too.
At Klassiek Centraal we have a playlist called Selectie van de redactie where we assemble tracks for our readers of cd’s we discussed. Each time we only pick one track. Is there a particular movement or passage in the string quartets on this cd that you resonate with and that you’d add to this list? If so, which one and why?
The first movement of the G major quartet represents so much drama and the constant fight between major and minor keys finishes in the most optimistic way. If we had to choose just one movement, it would be this one.