© Sophie Baker
Divertimenti has become widely acclaimed as one of the most exciting and innovative British chamber groups of its generation. Established in London in 1978, the ensemble has appeared throughout Britain at music societies and major festivals such as Aldeburgh, Bath, King’s Lynn, Canterbury and Camden, given concerts abroad, and has also recorded for BBC Radio 3. Early interest was attracted by recordings of the Mozart Clarinet Quintet, chamber music by Colin Matthews, and by this recording of the Mendelssohn and Bargiel Octets. Since then, Divertimenti has developed a reputation for liveliness in both performance and programming, and for a serious dedication to works of the latter part of the twentieth century and the rich seam of chamber works by British composers. The ensemble concentrates on unusual string quartets and works requiring the forces of a string quintet with two cellos, the great C major Quintet of Schubert forming the backbone of many programmes. Divertimenti has discovered many other exciting and beautiful quintets for this combination by Brahms (a reconstruction of his F minor Piano Quintet), Imogen Holst, Frank Martin, Ethel Smyth, Taneyev, Onslow, Cherubini, Weber, Bax and McEwen, to name but a few. Divertimenti also expands to perform quintets and sextets with two violas (Mozart quintets and Brahms and Dvorák sextets) and octets by Mendelssohn, Bargiel, Gade, Raff, Svendsen and Shostakovich.