Maggini String Quartet, Norwich
FRANK CLIFF Twentieth Century British music forms the core of the Maggini Quartet's repertoire and the recital on Saturday provided a welcome opportunity of hearing some of its familiar and less familiar works.
Twentieth Century British music forms the core of the Maggini Quartet's repertoire and the recital on Saturday provided a welcome opportunity of hearing some of its familiar and less familiar works.
EJ Moeran is a name which appears infrequently in concert programmes. Born in England in 1894 of Irish descent he lived alternately in Norfolk and Ireland.
The material of his E flat quartet derives largely from the traditional folk idiom. If hardly challenging the result is lovely music, beautifully scored, to which the Maggini brought warm and affectionate playing.
By contrast Frank Bridge's third quartet of 1927 is challenging for both performers and audience at the John Innes Centre.
For the most part harsh and uncompromising it is a difficult work to bring off yet the Maggini did so with a superb performance; technically brilliant driving the music remorselessly with a rich intensity of sound.
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There was more familiar territory with the last work: Vaughan Williams song cycle, On Wenlock Edge in which the quartet were joined by tenor Charles Daniels and pianist Martin Roscoe.
Listening to these wonderful settings of Housman's poems it is difficult to believe how unfashionable VW's music has become.
Though occasionally lacking power in the lower register, Charles Daniels sang admirably accompanied by supremely sensitive playing of this magical score by the instrumentalists.