Classical Preview: Record contract propelled Maggini to fame

The silent reading room of a London club may not have been the customary place to conduct an interview, but we have come to expect the unusual from the highly regarded Maggini Quartet.

One of the lesser-known quartets on the concert circuit in the early 1990's, the life-changing day came with an offer from Naxos to record a wide range of English chamber music unfamiliar to the label's international market.

"We were worried at the time," recalled the quartet's violinist, David Angel, "that it would take us outside of the repertoire our concert promoters really wanted."

It was a concern that lasted no longer than the wildly enthusiastic reviews that greeted their initial releases, soon to be followed by the offer from Naxos to give the world premiere performances and recordings of Peter Maxwell Davies's 10 quartets. That was to bring high profile London appearances and many Press reviews.

"It was then a balancing act of meeting audience demand to hear performances of English music, with our personal requirement to play and enjoy a wide spectrum of music," continued Angel, "but I think we have achieved that."

Programmes in Ripon Cathedral, Skipton Town Hall and St Bernadette's Church in Nunthorpe contain Ireland's Sextet and Stanford's Fantasy, with Robert Plane (clarinet) and Stephen Stirling (horn), while the Second Quartet by Frank Bridge is the centrepiece for Huddersfield's St Paul's Hall.

Huddersfield, Feb 7, 01484 223200; Nunthorpe, Feb 13, 01642 817097; Ripon, Feb 14, 01765 658071; Skipton, Feb 15, 01756 799912.