Parallel 40

Growing up on the island of Menorca, our cellist Pau learned about a concept which made a big impression on him: the 40th Parallel North. “An imaginary line connecting Menorca to faraway places in the World.”

Parallel 40 is an ode to discovery and connection, collecting and arranging music from many different countries and regions found along the 40th Parallel North. Starting in Menorca and heading east, for a full turn around the globe, we will discover music and stories from Menorca, Italy, Greece, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, North Korea, China, Japan, the US, Portugal and Spain.

We have been busy arranging traditional music from several places on the Parallel, as well as finding many original compositions for String Quartet. The aim of Parallel 40 is to create new repertoire for String Quartet and simultaneously discover music from all over the globe. By doing so, we wish to connect people and different cultures and inspire people through our vivid, musical storytelling. Listen to a taster of this project on our new 2024 album Parallel 40.

Get involved and help support our Parallel 40 by visiting our Fundraising Page:

La Serenissima

The Belinfantes are fascinated by ‘ghost composers’ – those who may not themselves have written
for string quartet, but whose music is imbued in the music of others.

Our guest ‘Ghost Composer’ for this project is the great symphonist Gustav Mahler.

We thread together a programme inspired by Mahler’s music and philosophy on the world. His great love of Nature, his exploration of his local cultural routes in Bohemian folk music, his love of people and wanting to protect the world.

We centre around Benjamin Britten’s Third Quartet, which looks at the importance of place, life and death, reaching transcendence for his opera Death in Venice incorporating the music of Mahler. Britten deeply felt connected to Mahler and his music – he was one of the sole protagonists to get Mahler’s music heard and popularised in the UK and the USA in the 1930s – believe it or not, Mahler was not a famous or popular composer until the 1960s. While Mahler wrote very little chamber music, his philosophy to incorporate it into his Symphonies inspired so many composers after him. We team up with British composer Rhiannon Randle, who spent a Summer in Benjamin Britten’s The Red House, researching his music for her Masters. Her love of Britten and incorporating folk music into her own works, and her connection to local environmental causes in Guilford has led to an exciting collaboration. To explore the string quartet form through Mahler’s philosophy on and love of Nature; Britten’s own deep connection to places (both Suffolk and Venice in his Third Quartet) and how traditional music can be both preserved and shared incorporated into compositions. – Rhiannon will be looking at her connection to music and ‘home’. We’d like to thank the Vaughan Williams Foundation for their support with this new commission.

Themes: Nature – Climate Change – Life & Death – Home – Mahler

Music: Britten – Haydn – Mahler – Randle – Maconchy – Traditional music of Venice arranged by Belinfante Quartet

Supported by: Vaughan Williams Foundation

Death Of Venice

Four Venetian Gondoliers invite you to travel through Venice through the ages. Starting in Medieval times, enter a Venetian party, revel in her heyday and admire her beauty. Through theatre, and spatial acoustics, feel transformed in any space as we travel onwards through Venetian musical history to today’s Venice. She has been sinking beneath the waves for hundreds of years, but by 2100, is due to be lost forever. Climate change is hastening her end, causing rising sea levels. Is her fate sealed forever? Through poetry, theatre and Benjamin Britten’s Third String Quartet, we examine the answer, and leave you with a question about climate change.

Benjamin Britten’s Third String Quartet is closely entwined with his opera ‘Death in Venice’, with themes of acceptance, love of life, beauty and questions of the unknown, it provides the perfect backdrop to explore the world now, as we totter on the brink of climate destruction due to climate change.

Partners: MERITA; Creative Europe; Kolarc Kolarceva Zaduzbina; Le demore del Quartetto

Music: Music of Venice arr. Belinfante Quartet – Benjamin Britten Third String Quartet

Themes: Climate Change – Music of Venice – Venice – Loss – Benjamin Britten – Theatre