Eroica Quartet New Grove Dictionary
English string quartet. It was formed in 1993 by Peter Hanson and Lucy Howard (violins), Gustav Clarkson (viola) and David Watkin (cello), all specialists in the field of historical performance. The group has forged a reputation in Europe and the USA as one of the world’s leading quartets playing on period instruments. Working closely with the musicologist Clive Brown, the Eroica has conducted extensive research into 19th-century performing practice, including the implications of bowings and fingerings in early editions. But there is no hint of academic dryness in the group’s playing, which is notable for its expressive freedom, subtlety of colour, and discerning use of portamento and rubato. The Eroica made its Wigmore Hall and US débuts (at the Library of Congress, Washington) in 1999, and the same year they were invited to give the world première of a newly discovered quartet fragment by Beethoven. Vicci Wardman replaced Gustav Clarkson as viola player in 2004. In the autumn of that year, following Lucy Howard’s tragic early death, the group suspended its activities until the spring of 2006, when Julia Hanson (Peter’s sister) was appointed second violinist. The Eroica’s recordings, all admired for the fresh light they throw on the music, include the complete quartets of Schumann and Mendelssohn, and Beethoven’s quartets opp.74, 95 and 135.